The parable of the Seed and the Egg

The seed and the eggA verse that’s always been interesting to me is where it says, “The seed is the Word of God”. (Luke 8:11). And since we know that Jesus is the Word, made flesh, then we can see Jesus as “the Seed”. But what are the eggs? We are.

Jesus is The Seed. We are the eggs.

I was having an impromptu Bible class with some young Christians who’d just come to the faith many years ago when, out of nowhere, this class came to me to share with them. If Jesus is the Seed, we are the eggs. Every human being in this world comes into this world in a condition that could be compared to an unfertilized egg.

An unfertilized egg is either going to go one way or the other. Within its nature is the possibility to get fertilized. If it is fertilized, all that potential that’s within it is realized. And it goes on to be all that it ever could be, a completely “new creature” and it continues the process of life that it’s a part of.

egg in nestBut if an egg doesn’t get fertilized, what happens? Sooner or later the time is up for that egg. It is cast out. The life process ends. All that potential, all that possibility that’s within it doesn’t come to fruition because it never received the seed it needed to continue the life process.

Salvation for a Christian involves, in a sense, a fertilization.As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name” (John 1:12) Immediately we begin to become “new creatures in Christ Jesus, old things past away and all things become new.” (II Corinthians 5:17)

Have you ever seen one of those documentaries that show the instant when a sperm enters an egg? Almost immediately, immediately things begin to change. The egg isn’t really an egg anymore and the sperm isn’t a sperm. They “become one”. No more sperms can get in. And a process starts that begins a totally new life from the combination of the seed and the egg.

That’s how salvation is. When we receive Jesus, we are born again. Jesus said, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.” (John 3:3) And while there’s that moment when life starts when the seed enters the egg, there’s also an ongoing process, after that, of growth from just a tiny embryo to the full and complete being, ready to be born.

Even though we may have received the Lord years ago, we’re still growing (or should be) in Him. “He that has begun a good work in us will complete it to the end”. (Philippians 1:6)

But if we’re just an unfertilized egg, we’re very incomplete. And, so often, we know it. We just feel that something is missing. Many “unfertilized egg” kind of people can wax philosophical and sound very intellectual. They can be very self-realized eggs. But they’re still incomplete, unfertilized. They may seem to really have a lot of answers. But still, at their deepest point, they sense their hopelessness and finiteness.

So many of those kinds are disdainful of the promises of God’s Word. They’re dismissive and mocking of the promise of eternal life through receiving the Seed, Jesus. It’s all too simple for them; it’s beneath them, it’s not intellectual enough.

But it’s there all the time. The enlightenment, the completion, the fulfillment, the release that they’ve been missing can be found. They can be “translated into the Kingdom of God’s dear Son” (Colossians 1:13), into a new and endless universe of light and love, answers and restoration, the fulfillment of more than they’ve ever dreamed of.

But the egg has to be willing to no longer be an egg. If it receives the Seed, it won’t be an egg anymore. It will have accepted the Seed. But if it doesn’t, sooner or later is comes to its end and is cast out. Forever.

What is hell?

What is hell? It’s an egg that has been cast out, having never received the seed. Like the verse that says, “Today, if you will hear his voice, harden not your heart.”(Psalm 95:7 & 8)

God somehow gave me experiences that were very much like what it must feel like for an egg to have been cast out of its place forever. Never having done what it was planned for. No longer within the cycle of life, with the potential to be something more than it was.

I was in eternity, but alone. I’d missed the boat and there was no way back. Ever. No hope, no truth, no life, no understanding. Just confusion and fear, no longer any opportunity to ever again make things right. An unfertilized egg, cast out forever.

Jesus in heart-flattenedThank God He somehow had mercy on me in the lowest hell and showed me the truths of the spiritual world enough that I could choose Him and, months later, His Son.

Don’t remain an unfertilized egg. Receive the Seed. Realize your potential by getting with the program our Creator has designed for our eternal happiness.

Right now, for us fertilized eggs, “Our lives are hid with Christ in God.” (Colossians 3:3) But the day will come for each of us that we will pass out of this stage of our existence. We each will “die”. But it actually will be more like a birth at last into the eternal world of the spirit, where in some ways we live already. We are right now already “sit down in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” (Ephesians 2:6)

At our death, we will not be cast out into infinite, eternal nothingness and incompleteness. We will find ourselves “complete in Him”  (Colossians 2:10) in the eternal world of the spirit, with “the Father of Spirits” (Hebrews 12:9), God Himself, and His dear Son, Who came and died for us, rose in victory from the dead, and has given us life through Him, the Seed, to do the same.

The Greatest Song of All

greatest song artI am not a musician but music has always played a really big role in my life. I’ve sometimes wondered how my life would have been different if I‘d ever been able to learn to play guitar. I got to where I knew a lot of chords but I just never could get the strumming part down. Oh well.

I’m thinking of sharing different times in my life when some song really spoke to me, lifted me or affected me. But then I’m realizing how very personal it all is. Each song I think about I hesitate from sharing because it’s such an opening into some of the most personal moments of my life.

For example, I wrote a blog post about “The Radio Miracle” how that, during an indescribable few weeks when I was 20, Put-a-little-love-in-your-heartwhen so many things happened to bring me to the brink of death and hell, that at one point in the middle of the night when I was in desperate prayer, my radio came on without my touching it. And a song of that time was just then playing which said, “Lift up your fellow man, lend him a helping hand, put a little love in your heart.” The words of that song were the words of God to me for that moment, conveyed through music, by a complete miracle.

But just a week before that, I’d been listening to a completely different kind of music, by my favorite group at that time, The Rolling Stones. I’d listened for the first time to their most recent album back then, “Beggar’s Banquet”. The voice of darkness that so strongly came through that album very nearly claimed my life. That’s what I wrote about in “Lucifer and the White Moths”.

There are many other incidents where music has carried me through deep valleys of despair that I don’t think I would have survived if a song hadn’t been on my heart and on my lips, virtually non-stop in some cases for weeks and even months.

I’d like to share a song with you that perhaps many of you know but some don’t. It’s called “The Greatest Song of All.” I don’t know the history or background to it but I first heard it in the 90’s, during what seemed like a time of great defeat and loss. I guess for me this song is such a combination of an incredible heavenly concept, really good music and a perfect text to the song. But maybe in some ways it doesn’t do much good to talk about a song since it’s a thing of itself which goes beyond descriptive words. I’ll paste it in here and hope it will be blessing to you.

Wisdom is the Principle Thing

wisdom is art-flattenedI was talking with a young man a few days ago, on the cusp of his adulthood. He comes from an intelligent family and he’s in the process of making some major decisions about his life. I’d never had any meaningful talks with him before this and we didn’t have a real long time for the discussion. But in the minutes I did have with him, I felt led to talk with him about the importance of wisdom.

Pardon my French here but life is a bitch, or at least at times it can be. And strangely, what you learn in university, no matter which one it is, doesn’t really prepare you for “the issues of life” (Proverbs 4:23), as Solomon called them. University for me was about knowledge and knowledge is far less valuable than wisdom. One of the more amazing things in this life we have is how important (but sometimes elusive) wisdom is and how relatively minor knowledge is.

But in the modern world, it seems to be the opposite. Intelligence and intellect are worshipped, exalted and sought after at all cost. But wisdom is virtually one of those things that’s almost been tossed in the waste basket, rather like truth. They say that truth is all relative, there really is no truth. And wisdom too is really doubtful, hardly talked about in polite company.

But here was this young man sitting in front of me and I felt like saying to him what Solomon must have said to his son 3000 years ago.

Wisdom is the principle thing. Therefore get wisdom. And with all your getting, get understanding.”  (Proverbs 4:7)

Was there a Wisdom 101 class at your university? I didn’t think so. It’s a stone miracle of God that I didn’t die, go to prison, or end up in an insane asylum while I was going to university. I was so utterly unwise, so utterly walking in ignorance. To quote Solomon again, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Proverbs 9:10) and I had no fear of or knowledge of the Lord at that time. And fewer and fewer young people do nowadays since knowledge and “education” are the gods of these times. But wisdom is left by the wayside, discarded as another thing which modern people have found that doesn’t really exist.

So I was telling my young friend about the importance of wisdom. It often presents itself when we find that we have made a mistake, sometimes a bad one. At least people say, “We learn from our mistakes”, that can be wisdom. And it’s wisdom that makes for a successful, fruitful and satisfying life.

Nelson MandelaWhat made Nelson Mandela great? Knowledge? I don’t think so. I don’t know the exact quote but he said something like that he knew, when he left prison after 26 years, that if he’d not forgiven and gotten over what people had done to him, in a very real sense he’d still be in prison.

Where did he learn that? University? Nope. These are the kinds of things that the great spiritual leaders through history have taught. But, on the other hand, history is chocked full of “intelligent”, “brilliant” people (and even nations) who failed utterly because they were so sure of their intelligence but were so completely lacking in wisdom.

And of course I’m speaking of Godly wisdom here. Jesus Himself spoke of the other kind of wisdom when He said, “The children of this world are wiser in their generation than the children of light” (Luke 16:8). Or as James, the Lord’s brother said, “This wisdom doesn’t descend from above but is earthly, sensual, devilish”  (James 3:15).

Machiavelli’s “The Prince” or the writings of the Marquis de Sade are full of that kind of “wisdom”, kind of like Gordon Gecko in the movie “Wall Street”, or like the Serpent in the Garden, which was “more ‘subtle’ than any beast of the field” (Genesis 3:1). Worldly, satanic wisdom.

Wisdome here-flattenedBut “The wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to change, full of mercy and good actions, without partiality or hypocrisy.”   (James 3:17) That’s the wisdom that Nelson Mandela came to have in his later life and the kind of wisdom that’s been reverenced and respected for many centuries, even if it’s in decline, disfavor and disrepute in our times.

As I talked with this young man, I was trying to present to him what I’ve found in my life, that “Wisdom is the principle thing”. (Proverbs 4:7) I told him he was like a sailor, just about to leave the harbor of his family and to launch out into the vast, stormy oceans of adult life. My experience has been that education and knowledge are certainly needful. But everybody says that. What you don’t hear anymore is the critical need for wisdom, something that seems harder to find every day. Hopefully he’ll remember what I said.

Austin Live Classes Starting

I’ll be starting up a new series of live classes in Austin soon so I wanted to let ones in the area know in case they’d be interested in taking part.

From Acts 1, verses 10 & 11

From Acts 1, verses 10 & 11

This series is going to be on the book of Acts, which is the history of the birth and growth of the Early Christian church in the first years after the resurrection of Jesus.

What I love about that book is that we can find there the original pattern of Christian discipleship and cooperation as lived by the Apostles who had been with Jesus, as well as by Paul of Tarsus who was miraculously called to be an apostle as well. There’s just so much there in the way of their original beliefs, what they did with their lives, their difficulties in agreeing and working together, how they witnessed their faith, their sacrifices, the strong persecution they received and how the Lord through the Holy Spirit was so very present to lead them and guide them and show them what to do. I love to see how the Lord was, in a sense, way out in front of them and leading them into all truth. At times it almost appalled them as the Lord’s ways were so revolutionary and different from what they thought was the way God would do things.

A recent Revelation class in Austin

A recent Revelation class in Austin

Five months ago I posted an article about the live classes I was doing at that time in Austin. That was a series on the books of Daniel and Revelation which so many are especially interested in nowadays. We finished that up last week with a class on the Millennium and the New Heaven and New Earth, all found in Revelation 20 through 22.

A series on Daniel and Revelation is pretty hard to follow. Those are some of the most envisioning, soul-challenging chapters in the Bible, especially if you’re of the ones who believe that we’ll be going through times of tribulation before the coming of the Lord, as I and my friends believe.

But with the book of Acts, it’s a good deal more down to earth. On the other hand, there are all kinds of things in there that most churches shy away from teaching or even bringing up for a number of reasons. And yet it’s the fifth book in the New Testament, evidently written by Luke the Evangelist.Book of Acts It’s primarily a historical book but in it can be seen the fervor and dedication of the first disciples, as well as how they explained who Jesus was and what His significance was to the people of their day. With great zeal and fervor the early Christians witnessed daily both to the Jews who’d been looking for the coming Messiah as well as the much larger group of “Gentiles”, most of whom knew virtually nothing about the promises that had been made to Israel.

So I’m really looking forward to this study. And if you’re in the area and would like to possibly see if you’d like to join us, I’d like to hear from you. We’ll be meeting on Thursday evenings in the Cedar Park area, a suburb north of Austin. I’m finding that the atmosphere in these “small groups” has a real advantage at times over the much larger corporate church in that there can be so much more of an “open forum” environment and personal interaction between those present. I’ve made some good new friends over the past months and found a number of ones with whom I have similar views and aspirations.

We’re open to finding others who are looking to go further with their Christian discipleship and to dig deeper into God’s Word. If this is something you’d like to check out, please do get in contact with me and I can let you know more. God bless you, your friend, Mark

Famous Failures of Prophetic Interpretation

I have been able to complete another supplementary video to Daniel chapter 8. That chapter is a pretty controversial chapter in the history of prophecy and there have been many things published, as well as misunderstandings experienced, on this chapter. In the main video on Daniel chapter 8, I aimed to not bring in those various views as some of them have stumbled a lot of people or at least confused many. But in these supplementary videos, it’s seemed good to briefly touch on these things so that everyone can be aware that there are these questions and controversies.

This video has to do with times in history when someone has pointed out something they thought was just about to happen, because they felt Bible prophecy was just about to be fulfilled. That happened twice, rather famously, over 100 years ago as a direct result of misunderstanding something that’s in Daniel chapter 8. And yet these misunderstandings and these  mis-taught interpretations of prophecy are happening in our times just as much if not more than it did back then. For those who are truly seeking to learn the truth and to delve deeper into Bible prophecy, these confusions and false teachings can do tremendous damage.

Stuck

Sometimes we just get stuck. God allows it and knows it, but He doesn’t want us to stay there. One of the greatest examples of this to me is what happened to the prophet Elijah, during the time before the fall of northern Israel in 722 BC.

Elijah calling down fire on Mt. Carmel

Elijah calling down fire on Mt. Carmel

Elijah is perhaps best remembered for standing on Mt. Carmel, literally calling down fire from heaven to confound the prophets of Baal, 450 of them in fact.(See I Kings 18) Israel at that time was ruled by King Ahab and Queen Jezebel. Ahab comes across as a weak character and it seems Jezebel was the one who wore the pants in the family.

And they were serious Baal worshipers. This wasn’t some little innocent misdemeanor. Baal worship involved cruel, disgusting sacrifices to demonic idols and was just completely forbidden by the laws of Israel. But it sounds like it had pretty much taken over the hearts and minds of the Israelites, en masse.

After Elijah had called down fire from heaven in front of the prophets of Baal (after they’d tried and failed for hours to do the same thing), there was one detail Elijah had to attend to. The Bible says he slew the 450 prophets of Baal while they were all still up there. ( I Kings 18:40) The multitude who’d come to see the showdown sided with Elijah at that time and helped round up the Baalites in order to help facilitate all this.

So far, so good; right? But Queen Jezebel was definitely not impressed. She sent a message to Elijah basically saying he was toast. Or, more specifically, that he’d be dead within 24 hours.

Elijah running from Jezebel

Running from Jezebel

What did Elijah do and say? “OK, baby! Bring it on! You and me: high noon!” No. the Bible say that Elijah “arose and fled for his life” (I Kings 19:3), way down into southern Israel, or Judah as it was called then.

This is where we see that Elijah got stuck. He actually ended up down in the Sinai, in a cave at Mt. Horeb. At this point it’s always seemed to me to be one of the perhaps few places in the Bible where there’s a touch of dry humor. The Bible says that the word of the Lord came to Elijah in the cave saying, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” (I Kings 19:9)

Yahweh, the mighty God of Abraham, has to ask someone what they are doing?! Doesn’t He know everything?! But maybe Elijah was really not doing very good right then. He may have needed some company and conversation. Could that question even have brought a brief smile to Elijah?

Elijah replied to God, “I’ve been very zealous for God. The sons of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, thrown down Your altars, slain Your prophets and I, I alone, am left. And they seek my life.” (I Kings 19:10)

“What are you doing here, Elijah?”

“What are you doing here, Elijah?”

Elijah was stuck. He wasn’t totally wrong in what he was saying. But he was totally defeated and had come to the end of himself, thinking it was all over for the Lord’s cause.

But God told him to go and stand on the mountain before the Lord. Then comes the famous event of the wind, the earthquake and the fire that manifest themselves before Elijah. And afterwards, “a still small voice” (I Kings 19:12) says the same thing again to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” (I Kings 19:13) Elijah answers again the same way.

All Elijah had was the voice and presence of God. He felt utterly alone, without a friend, without a follower and possibly an utter failure in bringing his nation back to God.

What an incredibly poignant moment that must have been. So often I wish there could be some inspired movie maker who’d begin to do justice to some of these Biblical events. On this journey to the mount, the Bible even says that Elijah prayed that God would take his life as he said, “I’m no better than my fathers.” (I Kings 19:4) Stuck, depressed, seemingly a failure, overwhelmed, utterly hopeless.

Where there is no vision, the people perish.” (Proverbs 29:18) And that was totally true of Elijah at that point in his life. Also, as it says in I Corinthians 10:13, “There is no temptation taken you but such as is common to man. But God is faithful, Who’ll not allow you to be tempted above that you are able. But will, with the temptation, also make a way to escape, that you may be able to bear it.

Elijah really needed to find “a way of escape” and God had one. First, He told Elijah what to do next: anoint a new king in Syria, a new king of Israel and to anoint a new prophet, Elisha, to be trained to take the place of Elijah. (I Kings 19:15-17)

So basically it was a “You need to get busy, son” message. Sometimes that’s exactly what we need. We need to get moving with what God wants us to do, rather than to wallow in our extreme difficultly. But then there was a final thing the Lord said to Elijah, concerning his earlier heart cry. God told him, “I have yet 7000 in Israel who’ve not bowed the knee to Baal or kissed him.” (I Kings 19:18)

It really must have been pretty bad at that time. Out of a nation of one or two million, God Himself told Elijah that there were only 7,000 Israelis who were not given over to the demonic god of the surrounding nations.

No wonder Elijah was distraught. It sounds like well over 99% of his people at that time had fallen away from faith in God. But Elijah kept on believing, kept on obeying and was faithful in his generation to the uttermost.

I’ve been stuck sometimes, actually many times. Maybe you have too. Utterly, utterly boxed in. Hopeless. Basically ready to give up and just die. Defeated, forlorn, forsaken by friends, mocked, persecuted, “running from Jezebel”.

I guess we need to remember Elijah and the many other stories from God’s Word that give us hope and strength. Keep on believing. Like someone said one time, “If your will power doesn’t work, try your ‘won’t’ power”. Elijah couldn’t go forward. But at least he didn’t really go backwards. He’d just come to the end of his rope. But God hadn’t. God doesn’t come to the end of His rope. So we all just need to remember to keep holding on.

Alexander the Great reads about himself in Daniel chapter 8

(This is the text version of the supplementary video to Daniel chapter 8, “Alexander the Great comes to Jerusalem” which can be seen here.)

Daniel8 picture3_smallopening shot for Alex-Jeru blog postHere’s a little history to highlight the power of prophecy. In Daniel 8, from 553 BC, we saw that Daniel was shown a vision of a goat with one horn. This goat was identified by the angel Gabriel as being prophetic of the Empire of the Greeks that was to come. Alexander the Great, and his empire, were the fulfillment of this, over 200 years later.

D 8-21 for blog postIn Daniel 8:21 the angel Gabriel tells Daniel, “And the rough goat is the kingdom of Greece; and the great horn that is between his eyes is the first king.” The vision not only predicts the coming of the empire of the Greeks, but it also ­mentions “the great horn” as signifying its first king.

I’m going to be quoting from an ancient Jewish historian, Flavius Josephus. He was sometimes an associate and a negotiator for the Roman government in the first century AD. But he also was a loyal Jewish citizen of Israel who wrote perhaps the most famous secular history of Israel, “The Antiquities of the Jews”. I’ll be quoting from book 11, chapter 8, paragraphs 4 and 5.

Josephus tells of when Alexander the Great came to Jerusalem, during his conquests of the Middle East, around 332 BC. The high priest in Jerusalem, knowing that Alexander had recently destroyed Tyre and Gaza, poured out his heart to God for divine protection.

(Text in blue below is taken directly from “The Antiquities of the Jews”.)

Daniel8 picture priest sleepingAfter that God spoke to the high priest in a dream “that he should take courage, and adorn Jerusalem, and open the gates. The rest of the people should appear in white garments. But the priests should meet Alexander in the robes of their priesthood, without fear, because God would protect them.”

Daniel8 picture3_smallWhen Alexander was not far from Jerusalem, the high priest went outside the walls of the city in a procession, with the other priests and multitudes of citizens.Daniel8 picture2a

Alexander’s army was expecting him to plunder the city. But, when he saw the multitude at a distance, in white garments, and the priests in fine linen, the high priest in purple and scarlet clothing, Alexander approached by himself, showing respect to their God, and saluted the high priest.Daniel8 picture4a-corrected&merged-flattenedsmall for blog post

Those who’d come with Alexander thought he had lost his senses.Daniel8 picture4a-finally one asked him for blog post

Finally one asked him how, when all others adored him, he should adore the high priest of the Jews?Daniel8 picture4b-Alexander explains for blog post

Alexander replied, “I did not adore him, but that God who has honored him with his high priesthood. I saw this very person in a dream, in these very clothes, when I was in Macedonia.

Macedonia for blog postAlexander and his primary forces were from Macedonia originally. In fighting the Persians, Alexander had three main battles, first at the Granicus River, then the battle of Issus, ­and the ultimate one, at Gaugamela.

3 battles for blog postBut Alexander is saying that, before he ever started his drive east to defeat the Persians, he’d had this dream in Macedonia that he’s now describing to his followers, outside the walls of Jerusalem.

[Alexander’s dialogue from “The Antiquities of the Jews” continues.]

Daniel8 picture4b-Alexander explains for blog postI was considering with myself how I might obtain the dominion of Asia. And I saw this man who exhorted me to make no delay, but boldly to pass over the sea. He would conduct my army, and would give me the dominion over the Persians. I have not seen any other so clothed that way since then. And now, seeing this person, and remembering that vision in my dream, I believe I bring this army under the Divine conduct, and shall conquer Darius, destroy the power of the Persians, and that all things will succeed according to what is in my own mind.”

Daniel8 picture entering Jerusalem for blog postThen he gave the high priest his right hand and came into Jerusalem.

Daniel8 picture5b-for blog postAnd, when the Book of Daniel was showed him where Daniel declared that one of the Greeks should destroy the empire of the Persians,

Daniel8 picture5c-for blog postAlexander supposed that himself was the person intended.

Daniel8 picture6-a-for blog postThe next day Alexander asked them what they would want of him. The high priest asked that they might enjoy the laws of their forefathers, and might pay no taxes on the seventh year.

Daniel8 picture6-b-for blog postAlexander granted all they desired.

When Alexander the Great was shown Daniel’s prophecy by the priests in Jerusalem, he acknowledged that this was a prophecy about himself. Furthermore, years before this, he’d personally seen, in a dream, these ones in Jerusalem, dressed in priestial robes, coming to meet him. And this information is taken from a famous secular history book, written in the 1st century AD.

Why could this matter to us, over 2000 years later? To me, it’s another amazing proof of the veracity and certainty of Bible prophecy.

Here one of the most famous conquerors of all time is shown the prophecy about himself, which had been given to Daniel over 200 years before. Alexander acknowledged that it was about him and then asked the high priest what he could do for them.

And Alexander went on to be a benefactor of the Jewish people in his lifetime. So those who dismiss Bible prophecy and feel it’s not relevant to our times are doing so at their own peril. On the other hand, there are those who look for God to yet fulfill His Word, for the events of the endtime to come and the Millennial Kingdom of Jesus to be established. Bible prophecy was fulfilled so dramatically and tangibly in the secular world with Alexander in Jerusalem, reading about himself in Daniel Chapter 8. This should encourage us believers that it will yet be so in our times or times soon to come.

 

“Ghost”

what if I died now-flattenedIn was in Budapest, Hungary around 1996 and I was sharing my faith with a young man, endeavoring to bring him to belief in Jesus. I told him about the spiritual experiences I’d had which helped me to come to have faith, some of which were fairly strange.

And one point he said to me, “I know, I know. I saw ‘Ghost’”. I was struck by this. He was talking about a movie from a few years before which, to my mind, gave a very interesting portrayal of the realities of the spiritual world, at least in a Hollywood-originated movie.

In the movie,”Ghost“, the main actor, played by Patrick Swayze, is suddenly murdered while out with his girlfriend, played by Demi Moore. The movie then goes with him into the spiritual world where he’s what we’d call a ghost, disembodied from his former self but still living in this world, unseen by mortals.

It’s a fascinating movie with great acting, romance, suspense, humor and an intriguing narrative. But the reason I’m writing this is how one scene or character so strongly impacted me when I was seeing it at that time.

I won’t go into the details but in the 80’s and early 90’s I had two traumatic life events that were unexpected, deeply unwanted and which could have even snuffed out my life. They left me gasping for breath spiritual and emotionally for a long period of time.

For me, what was needed was deep and total spiritual and emotional healing if these events were not to be the effective end of my life. My personal life as a disciple of Christ and as a happy, complete human being was in danger of being ended through trauma over these two events.

So it was with great interest that I viewed one portion of the movie “Ghost”. Patrick Swayze’s character had had one or two encounters with other beings in the spiritual world who could see him and communicate with him, which normal humans could not.

Ghost characterAt one point on an underground subway, he encounters what can only be considered a ghost. This very belligerent ghost claimed ownership of the subway Patrick Swayze was travelling on. With great difficultly Patrick Swayze engages in a dialog with this angry ghost, trying to find out how the ghost can do things and use spiritual powers that he had which Patrick Swayze didn’t have.

But in the conversation, it comes out that this ghost had either jumped off a platform of the subway to commit suicide or that he’d been pushed. One way or the other, he was not at all settled with the events of his life and was extremely unresolved, unrepentant, unforgiving and basically stuck in eternity with his anger, bitterness and unreconciled life.

At the time this spoke to me so much; it almost screamed at me, haunted me and scared the hell out of me. I saw so clearly how this ghost had gone out of this life and into eternity without restitution or reconciliation with those around him or with the events of his life. It was a very great provocation to me to not let my life become like that ghost. I saw how I must do all I could to find peace with God concerning the events that had happened to me.  A not famous but powerful verse spoke to me when I thought of the lesson of what I’d seen in that movie, “Whosoever’s sins you remit, they shall be remitted and whosoever sins you retain, they shall be retained.” (John 20:23)

That evil ghost was living in anger and bitterness about the things that others had done to him in his life, retaining the sins committed against him. And he went into eternity with those grudges, bitterness and lack of forgiveness or reconciliation. I also knew of situations that had happened in my grandparent’s and great grandparent’s lives where divisions, cruelty and unresolved animosity had stayed that way for 60 years or more. I saw the results of things that had happened in 1915 which were still causing divisions, hostility and damage 50 years later, when I was a teenager.

It was all something the Lord was using to impress on me the urgency and the essentialness of reconciliation and healing from bitterness or being captured by some traumatic event in my life. Happily I can say I really feel I was able to have the heart washing and deliverance that was needed so that I could go on with my life in the blessing of God, not defeated or captured by events of my past.

But it was a searing, grave warning that I feel I was only barely able to make it through by the grace of God. reconciliation-flattenedAnd, sadly, I know right now today many who’ve been through similar things who perhaps have not really been able to survive it. Some incredible injustice, some betrayal by ones they loved most, some disappointment that effectively ended their hopes, dreams and even their belief in God.

If any of this rings a bell with you, think about going into the afterlife and still having those unresolved bitternesses, grudges and unreconciled events following you right along into eternity. If that’s you, I implore you to do what you can to “First be reconciled to your brother” (Matthew 5:24). Or if nothing else, at least be sure you have peace with God about any unresolved, horrific events of your life that may haunt you into eternity unless you find or make peace with God and others.