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Saturday, October 3, 2009

Seeking A New Normal

By Tim Tuohy

This is the foundation, a foreword if you will, for a series of articles that I have written. I've compiled these into a book and submitted them to a publisher. I hope you will find them encouraging and helpful in your life.

"In the beginning God" ... so begins the greatest book in the history of the world. Writers universally hope to begin their book as well as this book's beginning. Charles Dickens also had a great beginning that most writers envy. He began one of the greatest works of English literature, "A Tale of Two Cities", with "It was the best of times; it was the worst of times". Truly, every time, in every era, in every life, is the best of times and is the worst of times. As you read through this gospel it's my hope you will learn to see the best of times all around you and learn to believe in spite of the fact that the worst of times are occurring simultaneously.

I'm Timothy these articles contain my gospel:

I'm Timothy. Not the one from the Bible. The articles you are about to read are written not because I want to win you over to some religion or get you to understand the concept of "the Christ." I have written them that I may introduce you to the Jesus that I have come to know and having made that introduction he will draw you to himself if that is what is to be.

I was raised in a cult called "The Move" that was founded by a man who fraudulently used the name of God to prosper himself and provide for his own wealth. It is said that he died when his small plane was flown into a mountain side in Honduras, but I suspect he lived among the population until he reached a fine old age. It was he who, in the upheaval and fear of the American 1960's, perpetrated the myth on countless believers that God Himself had called them to sell everything they had and move to wilderness communes.

My parents moved to one of these 'farms' where we lived in a three room slab wood shack. The entire building was less than two hundred square feet. My parents, my three sisters, one of my two brothers and I all lived in that tiny hovel. We had neither electricity nor running water. A shared access to the outhouse served as the restroom for all the two hundred plus residents of the commune. To the exterior of the shack a ladder of scrap wood was nailed. This provided access through an opening covered by a blanket fragment to a space the size of a pup tent that served as my 'bed room'. The commune (one of many located all over North America) was located on an eight hundred acre farm outside a small town named Governor, near Macomb, straddling Hurst Road, in upstate New York.

To further complicate my escape from this life, I was involuntarily relocated a few months before my eighteenth birthday. The founder's sister took me to another commune near Grand Marais, Minnesota. So it was that on the morning of my eighteenth birthday, I walked down the hill from the commune into the town of Grand Marais and purchased a bus ticket to Dallas, Texas. After the purchase I was left with only five dollars and the clothes on my back for possessions. I waited all day for the bus to finally arrive. With only five dollars to my name and no home to return to, I climbed on board a bus and was on my way.

In my life I've been hungry, wet, and cold. I've gone days without food. I've been outside with nowhere to go when it was freezing cold. I've slept under bridges in the winter rain, under the stars and in alleys. I've hitch-hiked around the country and traveled to all fifty states. I have been discouraged to the point of contemplating suicide and been frightened so badly that I couldn't move. Through it all God was with me to help me to get where I am today so that I could share what is in these articles with you.

The purpose of these articles:

These articles are not intended to be a treatise on the religion of Christianity nor a version of Christology; it's intended to be a glimpse of Jesus. Who is this man, this God, this singularity in history whom we call 'King of Kings' and 'Lord of Lords'?

I am writing to introduce you to Jesus, as I know him. Maybe you too can experience his friendship as I have. In writing this book it is my objective to fulfill the commission given by Jesus when He said, "tell this gospel to the whole world." It's my hope that this book will reach others who have found themselves awakened in the darkness and are searching for a light to lead them out.

Do know that more detailed literature is written and published on the subject of Jesus and Christianity than I can read or quote in this book. Many works have been written and published by learned theologians. Many lives have been committed to the study of the religious and spiritual concepts of theology. If you are so inclined, I encourage you to search for the answers as I have. There are many things to be learned by reading the myriad inspired and encouraging works of these talented authors.

Foundations of these articles:

Before I begin allow me to lay a foundation of fundamentals that are 'key' to all the things I will write herein. These three 'keys' that follow are essential to all understanding of success in life.

First: God is not a technology. You can't learn to push the right button that will control his actions. There is no code that changes his program. Nor is there a program to run that will cause Him to process your will.

Second: Love God with all that you are. What is love but the act of consecrating one's self and committing one's self to something or someone outside one's self? In this context love is both desire and commitment. To love God with all that you are is to be committed to bringing your will in complete alignment with his.

Third: Love others as you love yourself. They too are God's creatures and though you may detest their actions, remember they too are bound to evil.

Spiritual salvation and the carnal harvest:

Salvation is being returned to full communication with God. The only way to acquire this is the way God provided. Only the sacrifice of Jesus can pay for your salvation. You can't behave well enough to deserve it. It's not compensation for your efforts. Once received, you can't hold onto it securely enough to keep it from slipping away. The only way to succeed in having a relationship with God is the grace provided through the blood of the lamb. You can't get to God without it and you can't get it without God drawing you to it. It's all God, we contribute only belief, and that too is a gift provided by God. Eternal life is found only in knowing God.

I'm not saying there is no consequence for our actions. There are consequences for everything we do. In an extreme example I may have committed murder, been tried, convicted, and sentenced to death. Accepting the gracious gift of God that is salvation for my spirit must not be confused with the harvest I must necessarily reap for the seeds I sowed with murder. This was illustrated in Arkansas after (then) Governor Huckabee commuted sentences of prisoners who appeared 'converted'. At least one of these was released back into the population only to return to his heinous ways and commit the same types of crimes he had been convicted of earlier. Had he truly been converted? I think not.

We may not judge the spirit, for that is the domain of God. We may only judge the actions of the individual. If the actions of the individual have been judged under the law then the consequences of the law must never be waived until the full portion of the judgment is met.

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.

Don't be distracted that I write as if it is wrong to seek a more blessed and fulfilled life. It isn't. I'm not saying that you must endure pain, suffering, discomfort, or mental anguish either. You will not become righteous by virtue of your suffering. People will speak poorly about you whether you are rich or poor; whether you are successful and a lesson in failure.

Don't be afraid! God won't lose a single one of his elect. None will be lost. None will be left behind.

Summary:

By way of summarization, I'm going to close each of these articles with three things; a promise from God, a key to success and a lyric from a song. The promise and the key should be incorporated into your soul and kept in your memory. The lyric may be substituted for any lyric of any song you find encouraging, what's important is to keep a song in your heart, because songs bring joy and joy is the ultimate success.

So if you've been looking for the messiah to deliver you from the mess you're in; you've found him! The gospel will reveal him to you.

God's promise: God loves you and has great plans for you. "For I know the plans I have for you," Declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Success Key: God has plans for you and they are good plans!

Sing out! "God is good, all the time ..." Don Moen

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