Monday, August 14, 2017

A new journey (trying something different)

I am starting a new journey, or maybe I should say I am starting again. I didn't get there last several times I tried.

I am going to change my lifestyle and become more healthy/

No, I didn't have a heart attack or bad news from the doctor. No, it was something a lot worse...

My own words.

We all know what we should be doing things about. The doctor had said many times it would be good for me to lose weight. I know I would feel better and eventually it would hurt me in ways that I may not recover.

What did I say?

In talking Sunday about the spiritual discipline of engaging your Bible (reading, reflecting, responding), I said if what you are trying to do isn't working do something else. Find something that works and stick with it. It is like dieting. What does works? The one you stick with, so find one that works for you and stick with it. If what you are doing isn't working try something else.

What I am doing when it comes to food isn't working. I was challenged by a friend to try Weight Watchers.

I had excuses, but it was something I had never tried and we both knew what I was doing wasn't working. So I found a good deal, a good meeting time and started.

Where will this lead?

To success I believe, but here is the teachable moment.

At least, I am trying something different since what I was doing wasn't working.

So what in your life isn't working?

Try something else, try another path toward your goal.

I'll keep you updated on mine.

Monday, August 7, 2017

A habit, not legalism.

I have been preaching about doing what is needed to grow in Christ. In my preparations, I found one of the most important things you can do to grow spiritually is to engage the Word (Bible Study, journaling, interactive apps, etc) and to make it a habit (at least 4 times a week).

A habit, not legalism.

Some people express their concern about becoming legalistic when it comes to Spiritual disciplines but what they may be is undisciplined. 

I will give you an example of habit versus legalism.

Brushing my teeth in the morning.

Do you think I find this legalistic? Have there been times I had to jump up and run without doing it?

Of course, and no one died. (my wife thought I ate something that died but that's a different story)

So why do I continue the habit (I don't want to be legalistic about it do I)? 

Because it’s good for me and everyone I interact with.

I don’t think that I will ever find anyone so much a rebel that they will tell me I am being legalistic about brushing my teeth. Most will encourage me to keep doing it. They would say it great personal hygiene.


Yet some of these same people will look at my admonition about regularly engaging the Word, attending church, and Bible study as legalism. 

It’s not it just good spiritual hygiene (to use dental terms).

So make engaging the Word a habit, it's only legalism if you define it as that.  

Monday, July 31, 2017

The Devil rarely honors his deals.

OR maybe I should title this Why I didn't write that story?

When the Devil does honor his deal the reason is, of course, so it will benefit him.

I say this not because the devil came to my house with blue eyes and in jeans, but from what I see in scripture and see in the lives of people.

Many years ago, I had a nightmare it was very, very vivid. It came to me like a movie, in which, I was the main character, an author. The story unfolded with the Devil disguised as the caretaker gave promising rest for writers of suspense and horror and though he gave them this in body he was tormenting their souls making it possible for them to write more horror.

When I awoke from this dream I felt as if I had the seed of a novel but it terrified me. Writing it I knew would open my mind to some very dark places. Places from which I might never return. I decided that I wouldn’t write it.

Since then there has been a whisper in my mind, “This story is a best seller,” “You can have wealth and fame.” The promise seemed real but now almost two decades later, I have still never written the story, nor will I.

I have written a few small books and have written several stories. Over the few couple of years, I have self-published some of those works. I discovered though the difficulty in writing, editing, and publishing a book. I have learned that even a good story may never hit fame.

Last week it hit me, I was lied to. This horror story would never be all it was promised, yet I would have been changed. I would have opened my mind to a darkness which I believe would have haunted me for the rest of my life. It was all a lie there would have been no reward, but there would have been a price paid, I would have paid it.

Why share this?

You might even now be hearing a lie. It might not be the Devil, but it is making you a promise that if you compromise your integrity there will be a reward. The truth is whenever we compromise our values and integrity, we lose. Even if there is that on in a million chance you get what is promised, the cost isn’t worth the reward. So, don’t do it.

Don’t give in.


It isn’t worth it. 

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

The obvious answer is wrong (sometimes)

If you ever have the opportunity to hear me preach you will find that I enjoy asking rhetorical questions. 

What my congregation quickly learns is a portion of these questions are trick questions. There seems to be a simple answer but, in reality, the obvious answer is wrong.

For example: We all know the Bible teaches we have to accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior? 

Now at this point you may be wondering why I would blog on this. It might be useful if you hear me preach or read my blog but what difference does it make. 

The reason I mention this is, there are times in our lives when we need to question what is the obvious answer and see if it is correct. 

Is it safe to walk off the top of a skyscraper?

Okay, maybe not that one.

Most of the time you will actually find the answers you assume are correct, (like the skyscraper one) but sometimes especially in areas you are only partially informed you may find a different answer or a deeper understanding. 

What is my point: Never get lazy in pursuit of the knowledge.

CSA


By the way, the short answer to the skyscraper question is; NO. 

Consider this spirtual question, "Is a relationship with God a personal matter?"


The Bible says we have a personal decision to accept Jesus as Lord (Romans 10:9-10) 

But our relationship to him is more than personal (yes there is a personal side). 

We are made part of the family of God or as Paul calls us the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:27). 

We are commanded to have a  relationship with other Christians. 

The Bible does not teach you are suppose to have a relationship with God by yourself.    

Friday, July 21, 2017

The Right Time to Sow Wild Oats

The Right Time to Sow Wild Oats
Poetic Reasoning 


Someone once told me “Sow your wild oats while your young.”

But for me this did not seem sound, though fun it may be.

Because what ever you sow, you will one day reap,

And what you have planted will definitely grow.

So if I planted these weeds while yet I was young 

Then when I was grown, oh the work to be done.

Not only would I have to struggle and fight to do what is right

I would have to struggle with all the weeds in my life.

So sowing these foolish and childish acts would catch me at last.

In the prime of my life when I need it last.

So I considered Sowing those oats while in my life’s prime.

This I saw was even worse yet, 

what would my friends think of me then.

I would spend my strength in the prime of my time

spreading out something with no lasting gain

With its great harvest coming out when I’m weak 

Oh what a fool I would be to plant those weeds then.

So I considered at the end of my life sowing these weeds

Perhaps I would die, before the harvest was in?

But how would I do that after a life full of striving 

To throw it away for a little free running. 

At the end of my life what most would remain,

is what I had done at the end of my game.

I would lose then I know because the Maker would see 

these oats in my hands, my life all unclean. 

So what does it mean I think it is clear.

Sowing those oats is never a gain

The Price is too great whatever the year. 

So I gave back the oats to the fool who had said,

Spread them out now, think of now not then.

He was not happy I could see that for sure,

But I will be happy for one thing is sure

 this bad harvest will never be mine and that is for sure. 

Think about it....



Monday, June 19, 2017

Ask, Seek, and Knock (what does it mean?)


Matthew 7:7
Luke 11:9

After years of Bible Study and reading, there are few things, I haven’t heard before. There may be new ways of saying things and some renegade crazy thoughts; like the writer who suggested that the temple of Solomon was designed to keep the common people in their place and away from God (i.e., the design of the holy place and the holy of holies as "priest only" places). I digress, but I there isn’t much that grabs me and causes me to say, “Oh.”

I have always heard the scripture referring to “Ask, Seek and Knock” as a progression in pray. Martin Luther interpreted it this way as well as a number of other scholars. However, I was reading John Wesley’s Notes on the New Testament and though I have read through it before I missed this commentary on Matthew 7:7, “But ask—Pray for them, as well as for yourselves, in this, there can be no such danger. Seek—Add your own diligent endeavors to your asking; and knock—persevere importunately in that diligence.”

According to Wesley, the progression to getting what you want (if what you want is God’s will) is to:

1.   Ask God in prayer.

2.   Work toward it.

3.   Be persistent in your work.

I will admit that this is usually the way I work anyway. I pray and if I think it is of God I work toward it. However, I never saw it laid out that way specifically and it caused me to say, “Oh! I like that.”
I wasn’t going to accept it as Gospel just because I liked it and it agreed with my philosophy, which is always a bad idea. I went over and looked at other commentaries and at the ones listed in Biblehub.com (a good resource). What I found were the two views laid out above, the desperation in pray progression and what I will call Wesley’s idea.

So, which is correct?

You will have to make that call for yourself, but both ideas can be seen in scripture. Personally, I lean toward Wesley’s interpretation to pray, then do what you know to do, and finally having done all I can to stand firm in God (Ephesians 6:13-14).


Whatever you decide it is God we have to rely upon for everything.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The TRUE danger in Dihydrogen Monoxide

The TRUE danger in Dihydrogen Monoxide

I saw these a while back and could not resist posting about it. I am sure someone has claimed either Obama or Trump is behind this. 

We have to be informed about the truth and not moved by emotional propaganda. If you look at these (and not know what Dihydrogen Monoxide is) you might wonder what is wrong in our world. The truth is Dihydrogen Monoxide is H2O or otherwise known as WATER. Yet people post these and repost these things. 

Know the truth about anything do not just be moved by what appears to be bad. The scary thing is people in power know people are moved by these types of appeals, emotion over truth, fiction over fact and they will try and use it against you. 

The true danger in Dihydrogen Monoxide is it shows how easily people can be fooled.

KNOW THE FACTS, before you respond to anything.  





Think about it.