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Showing posts from October, 2014

Pluck that grey hair!

As kids, didn't we do a much better job "obeying" our parents when they were right there with us than when no one was looking?  The only probable exception was when we were with one of our friends' parents.  We acted like total angels around them, making our parents nearly nuts when they saw how perfectly we could act with them and how insanely disobedient we could be when we were at home!  The cookie jar was never a temptation when mom was  home - she'd have whipped me but good if I stole into that between meals. Yet, if she happened to be at work when I got home and the house was "free of parental supervision", I'd scour the pantry for chocolate chips, the candy jar for one or two hard candies, or the like.  Why?  No one was watching!  When someone was home, I was "monitored" for my obedience.  When no one was there, the "monitor" was gone.  At first, this may not seem like a big deal, but it was probably more important for me …

Take a lesson from war

Have you ever been in a situation where you just knew no matter how hard you tried to make your opinion count, no matter how hard you fought for a particular matter, the verdict or outcome was already decided, despite your best efforts to direct the course otherwise?  What was your emotional outcome in those circumstances?  Wasn't it a deep sense of defeat and discouragement?  You tried so hard, but the outcome could not be changed despite all the efforts on your part.  There are just times in life when it is wiser to walk away than to continue to engage in the battle, my friends.  Now, this may seem a little "defeatist" at first, but not really.  Consider the energies directed at the "fight" you stand no chance of winning and then how much more those same energies could do in the matters you do have an influence in.  When those energies are redirected toward the stuff you can actually affect, you at least feel a sense of reward and hope in the outcome. To cont…

Avoid the "head-on" collision if you can!

We have all probably heard the saying, "Hindsight is 20/20".  It is this idea of being able to look "back" on something and give all kinds of advice to either ourselves or others on how the circumstances could have turned out differently "if..."  The issue is in the "if" - "if" we had done this differently, "that" should have been the outcome.  Note, I said "should have been" the outcome - there is no guarantee that in "looking back" we can actually make an outcome different. What we can do is ensure we are ready for the same challenge in the future with a "different" plan of how we will encounter it.  At best, we can hope the outcome will be different because we have a different plan.  Hindsight is a useful tool for us because "after the fact" we can recognize new possibilities with a different response, or even understand the requirements of the circumstances we just did not recognize…

Trusting grace

In the Old Testament way of worship, sacrifices and offerings were expected. Lambs, goats, bulls, and even birds or grains were brought by the one who desired to worship.  These would be prepared in a particular manner and either consumed whole on the altar, or portions would be consumed and others would be enjoyed by the priests.  We have lost touch with this type of "worship" these days as Jesus declared this "form" of worship no longer necessary when he offered himself as the "perfect sacrifice" for our sins.  Yet, in our worship today, we often find we are still all actively trying to bring some "gift or payment" for sin which we think God "demands" of us.  We have this illusion that our sins can be somehow "covered over" by something we do or bring to God.  It is kind of like the bargaining chip where we say "I'll do this" and expect it to somehow meet God's demands for a "way into heaven".  N…

Sin have you tripped up again?

Obedience is kind of a two-sided coin.  One side demands we participate in some course of action, while the other requires something we simply don't possess in order to be successful at it.  We are asked to participate - yielding our will (want to) in order to move into the "position" of obedience.  It is like when a runner puts his feet squarely in the block at the starting line and is ready in anticipation of the starter's gun.  The runner is all ready to respond - he is just waiting for the signal to move.  Sometimes we face obedience in quite this manner - waiting to move - but "at the ready".  The runner has some decisions to make in making the run, though.  He must decide if he will run as he wills, or if he will listen to the coaching of one who can observe the entire pack of runners.  When he relies upon the coaching of the one who sees the entire pack of runner, he is more able to adjust his pace so he won't burn out in the run.  Obedience is k…

Our heart's desire...

There have certainly been times when I have questioned God about why it is I don't have my "heart's desire" - how about you?  Try as we might, we just cannot figure out why there is a delay in seeing the desire of our hearts come to fulfillment.  We question the delay, doubt our faithfulness, and begin to worry they might never be fulfilled.  If we just hold onto the one passage of scripture which says all we need to do is to do what the Lord wants and he will give us the desires of our heart, then we wonder if we are doing what we are supposed to be doing.  Before long, we begin to wonder if we have some kind of "barrier" to seeing our heart's desire fulfilled - like sin hidden deep within our hearts, wrong motives, or the like.  If we really want to discover the truth about the "long wait", we have to take it to God and trust him to reveal the purpose.

Trust the Lord and live right!  The land will be yours, and you will be safe. Do what the L…

What view are you seeing today?

In finding the right candidate for a position, an employer considers the skills the individual requires for the performance of their duties.  These skills can be defined as both "hard" skills (the ability to type 90 words a minute) and "soft" skills (the ability to be courteous when answering the phones).  The "soft" skills are a little harder to find - often not really observed until you get the person in the specific situation where they will need to display these "soft" skills.  The skilled employer will use specifically crafted interview questions and examples to attempt to discover if the individual has those "soft" skills, but believe me, people can "tell" you they possess them, but until you see them in action, you really don't know if they do or not.  One such skill is the ability to listen before one formulates or gives an answer.  This is a "soft" skill, to be sure, but it is often coupled with some of…

A trust relationship

How freely do you offer your heart?  For some, the answer would be "way too freely", while others would admit to a reluctance to "let anyone come close". We all could answer this a little bit differently - depending on the "who", "where", "when", and "why" of this "offering", right?  When the "who" is right, we offer it with a little more exuberance.  If the right timing is there, we just might find ourselves drawn a little closer and opening up a little quicker.  When life's circumstances are just right, we are at the place we might just be a little "weaker" than others.  So, our hearts can be offered freely, or with great hesitation and "hold back" on our parts.  When we offer our heart to the right person, at the right time, in the right way, for the right reasons, what a difference that makes!

I offer you my heart, Lord God, and I trust you. Don’t make me ashamed or let enemies …

Popping the balloons

Endurance is often defined by one's ability to hold out without giving into some impairment or difficulty.  In "undergoing" some stress, you are able to come out the other side still standing.  Over the course of my life, I have learned not everything we "undergo" is designed to leave us "standing" - sometimes we need to be in a place which displays a different type of "strength" than being able to "stand".  In other words, sometimes the "strongest" place we find ourselves is in admitting our weakest place within!  There is something which comes in the times of "trouble" in our lives which has a way of revealing these "weak" spots - and I think God may have just designed the thing we "undergo" to reveal that "spot" so he might help us with that weakness.
My friends, be glad, even if you have a lot of trouble.  You know that you learn to endure by having your faith tested.  But you mu…

Knowing "about" differs from knowing

There are always going to be things in life we have "heard about", but have never seen.  If we are to be perfectly honest here, we have heard about a whole lot that we don't understand, but we just accept it as fact.  I was scrolling the posts of friends this morning just out of curiosity to see what was going on in the lives of those I follow online.  There were things from cute pictures of babies being stunned by a toy chicken laying colored eggs to celebrations of family event.  Then one thing caught my eye - but I simply did not read any further - not because I could not consider the possibility of it being true, but because at some point I have to censor what it is I allow into my brain!  It was a post about our President requiring some type of a radio ID implantable tag to be placed in all Americans by 2017.  Now, I know this is not beyond the realm of possibility as we have been doing this with animals for ages now.  Yet, if I take everything at face value which I…

Being like Jesus

Have you ever tried to be so much like somebody else it was almost kind of comical to watch this transformation?  During the era of Jimmy Dean's fame, boys were dressing with white t-shirts and blue jeans, trying to look like the "tough guy".  Women were trying to dress and act like Marilyn Monroe.  Later on, rock stars like Michael Jackson were on the scene, sporting a new kind of "hip" or "cool" - while young and impressionable kids attempted to master his "moon walk" and got the cool glove!  Now, no one wants to see me moon walk, so I won't even try!  I didn't then and I won't now.  Yet, down through the ages, regardless of the generation in which we lived, people found "models" of behavior or style they wanted to emulate.  To be honest with you, I tried to preach like one of my Bible College professors!  You might ask how that worked out for me and I'd have to be honest - I was a flop!  Why?  I was not made to t…

Tin cans, drainpipes, and a melody to be played

Gladness comes when we take pleasure in something.  I like to find the perfect photo - the bee on the flower, leaf caught in the sun-blazoned cobweb, or maybe even the look of discovery on the face of a young child.  It brings me pleasure to catch "just the right" moment.  Gladness is a sense of heart where one experiences joy or pleasure - a sense of heart which evades a good many these days.  Gladness and happiness are very similar emotions - both based on finding pleasure in something or someone.  Pleasure is really the capacity to enjoy what it is you have found.  I read of children in Paraguay, in the city of Cateura, who take great pleasure in playing music out of instruments "recycled" from cans, drain pipes, and what others in society would call their "trash".  The craftsmen of the town fashion these "cast off items" into violins, cellos, guitars, and other stringed instruments. They are far from "Stradivarius" worthy instrumen…

Sharp or curative words?

Our words - some short and sweet, others longer and rich with meaning - all are still words until they are spoken or heard.  In the speaking, meaning can be conveyed - simply by inflection, the combination of words spoken together, or the circumstances in which they are voiced.  In hearing, a totally different meaning can be interpreted - based upon the hearer's frame of mind, how emotional charged the moment is, or the complexity of demands being placed on the hearer at that moment.  Since there are all these "interference" points where words can become something totally different than what we intended to convey, it is even more important to learn how it is we use our words!

Sharp words cut like a sword, but words of wisdom heal. (Proverbs 12:18 CEV)
Words bring death at one time, but almost similarly spoken, they bring life at another. What has occurred is the mixing of the speaking and hearing components - and whatever life has placed between the two.  In the midst of…

A little lesson from the ants

Okay, today's lesson may seem a little bit like a biology lesson, or a study into insects, but bear with me as we take this journey.  Ants are social creatures - living in colonies and not out there all alone.  In this respect, they are kind of like us humans - doing much better in a "colony" of sorts than trying to make it through this life all alone.  I marvel at how these tiny creatures figured this out when they only have about 250,000 brain cells and we humans cannot figure this out with our greater than 10,000,000 brain cells!  Deep within the colonies of ants, the worker ants spend all day moving the unborn larvae closer to the surface so they can get the heat of the day, but then faithfully move those same larvae deeper into the nest so they can be warmer.  It is a repeated process until the tiny larvae hatch.  Other ants will work all day gathering food for the colony - carrying weights twenty times their own body weight back to the colony to ensure the colony t…

Okay, so I stand corrected!

Correction:  Something that is substituted or proposed for what is wrong or inaccurate; an adjustment made in order to increase accuracy; the reversal of a trend.  Most of us think of correction as the punishment we receive which is intended to put us back on the right course.  In essence, this is only one definition of the term - but the idea is that of "substituting" one behavior for another in order to get a different outcome.  In other words, if we continue doing the same thing, we will always get what we have always gotten!  So, correction is designed to help us do something "differently" in order to change the outcome. 
Accept correction, and you will find life; reject correction, and you will miss the road. You can hide your hatred by telling lies, but you are a fool to spread lies. You will say the wrong thing if you talk too much—so be sensible and watch what you say. The words of a good person are like pure silver, but the thoughts of an evil person are…