Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Question of Charachter

I mentioned yesterday the importance of establishing someone's character before you immediately embrace their thoughts or views. Just to make sure we're on the same page, let me tell you what I am referring to when I mention "character". You see, some people automatically assume that a person with character is someone of good repute. That is an accurate definition that can be found in the dictionary. Another definition would be: The inherent complex of attributes that determines a persons moral and ethical actions and reactions.

Since there are so many people of varied opinions today as to what "good repute" is, I will stick to the second definition I mentioned. Basically, things that determine a persons moral and ethical actions and reactions.

So, since I can't tell you how to determine if a person has the characteristics you think are important - since I don't know what that is - I will tell you that I believe if a person holds truth as paramount in their life...then that fact alone answers a lot, the...

Question of Character.

Monday, November 29, 2010

It's Just A Start

It's amazing how easily we can be duped. Let's see...some of us let our emotional world get the best of us and our resulting actions attest to that fact. Other times we think if something is in "black and white" it is absolute truth. Then, of course, most of us will listen to just about anybody if they sound confident and authoritative. Something or somebody else we tend to put our "trust" in is a person or group of people who have specific degrees behind their name.

All these things are understandable. They probably do have access to information that we might not have. But, you know, even doctors that are reputable disagree with each other. Who can we trust? Who should we listen to?

Reminds me of a story:

A fisherman from the city was out fishing on a lake in a small boat. He noticed another man in a small boat open his tackle box and take out a mirror. Being curious the man rowed over and asked, "What is the mirror for?"
"That's my secret way to catch fish," said the other man. "Shine the mirror on the top of the water. The fish notice the spot of sun on the water above and they swim to the surface. Then I just reach down and net them and pull them into the boat."
"Wow! Does that really work?"
"You bet it does."
"Would you be interested in selling that mirror? I'll give you $30 for it."
"Well, okay."
After the money was transferred, the city fisherman asked, "By the way, how many fish have you caught this week?"
"You're the sixth," he said.

So what is my point? Well...since we can't know for sure if what people tell us is true or not, it is my opinion that it would be wise of us to examine their character. But...

It's just a start.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Too Painful To Ignore...

A few years ago I was "surfing the net" and, well, ended up on some page that I could never find again. You know how that happens. It was interesting, though. You see, if you hadn't noticed already, I love asking questions and then finding answers. Probably drove my parents crazy. Anyway, the question I was asking at the time was, "Why is it that so many people hate the Jews...with no apparent reason?"

For the life of me, I couldn't put a finger on that one. It made absolutely no sense to me. So...I typed in that question on "Google" and found a bunch of silly answers. None of them rang true to me. I mean, I like "checking things out"...but that doesn't mean I automatically believe everything I hear or read. But sometimes we run across something that is actually true. The following story is an example.

When David was a young boy his family took a vacation. They stopped at all the tourist sites. One site stood out to David and the memory of it remains with him to this day.

Being a typical boy, David was excited to exit the car that he had been in for hours and visit the "tourist site" his family happened upon. It boasted of an underground cave, at one time used by miners. I can't remember how far down it went - just that it was very deep.

David enthusiastically sat in the minors car that was used by the tourist guide to take people to the depths of the cavern. When he got to the bottom, the guide turned off his flashlight which was the only source of illumination that the people had. He had explained to people that the cave was so deep that once you reached a certain depth...not even light could be found. Now, we think there is no light late at night or in a dark basement...but when our eyes "adjust" we can eventually see the vague shape of a hand in front of our faces. That's because there is at least a little bit of light available - via the moon or stars. Not so, in this cave. Absolutely no light reached it's depths.

The guide spoke in the inky blackness that surrounded the fascinated tourists. After having sat in the dark long enough for their eyes to adjust, the people were asked to put their hands in front of their faces. Not even a dim outline of a hand could be seen. Eventually, the guide told them to close their eyes as he was going to turn on his flashlight and the light of it would be painful to their eyes. He was quite serious. However, being a young daring boy, David wasn't about to miss this unique opportunity. He, of course, kept his eyes open...and was shocked to discover that the pain he experienced in his eyes was real. Yes, he recovered...but he never forgot.

Fast forward at least 30 years. David was now a pastor who was pondering the "Why do so many people hate the Jews question" when he remembered the vacation he took as a boy...and the cave.

In a flash of insight, David remembered all the scriptures in the Bible that refer to Jesus as the Light, and how darkness hates the light. The "Light" was a Jew who came from Israel.

Not all people hate the Jews. I don't. Many people don't. But is it possible that people who are in deep spiritual darkness find "light"...

Too Painful to Ignore?

Friday, November 26, 2010

Which Way is Up?

Why do I believe there is only one way to heaven? Because that is what I see God saying in His Word. Some people view that as judgmental. That's because it is offensive. It is not, however, my judgement to make. It is a judgement made by God...at the end of a persons life and based on a heart that only God knows. I'm grateful He is the one making that judgment...because He knows our hearts so intimately and because His love for us is greater than any love we have ever had for anyone. I know we can't comprehend all of that...it requires a faith in God that says "I believe in You even if I can't understand it all".

Most people I know, regardless of whether they believe in the Bible or not, believe in the spiritual world. Could it be that the spiritual warfare that we know is real...is very deceptive as well? Remember Satan? He was called actually called the Angel of Light. His beauty surpassed that of all the other angels of heaven. Jesus actually refers to him as "The Father of Lies".

I am not some amazing theological scholar by any stretch of the imagination. That is simply what the Bible says. It is not my personal interpretation. Nor has the Bible morphed into a new class of Christianity.

Do I think it's important to speak out when appropriate? Yes. As I mentioned a few articles ago, the "Preach without Speech" thing has gone a bit too far...though I understand the intentions were well-meaning and even understandable. It's important to live the life that reflects the principals of God's Word - but not to the exclusion of sharing His Word. Hopefully you will be sensitive enough to know,however, when it is inappropriate. You know, like, when people specifically ask you not to talk about it.

But don't worry that you are "doing nothing" if you "only" walk the walk and refrain from "talking the talk". The very fact that you don't gossip or you don't swear or you don't have sex outside of marriage,etc. will be "enough" for some people.

Tomorrow I'll tell you a story about darkness that was so pervasive, a person couldn't tell...

Which Way Was Up?!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A Thanksgiving BLT ?

I was listening to K-Love last week and they landed on a topic that is very near and dear to my heart. Food. In particular...Thanksgiving food. I think it qualifies as my favorite time of the year for guilt-free eating. At least...I find it guilt free. It's like this. I figure there are 365 days in our average year.

There is only one Thanksgiving Day. How can I be thankful for food if I don't eat it?

Ya gotta admit. Eating on Thanksgiving makes perfect sense. Being thankful for the food we're eating makes even more sense. The moral of the story? Eat joyously!

Ahhh...Turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, green bean or asparagus casserole,cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, pecan pie and whatever other specialties you may avail yourself of in which to delight your palate...they are all there - waiting for you.

Or perhaps, as K-Love mentioned, during preparation time the bites, licks and tastes could actually be referred to as...

A Thanksgiving BLT !

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Greatness Gauge...

Someone once said:
A mans greatness is measured by what it takes to discourage him.

I like that. Yes, I realize there are always exceptions. A person isn't exactly at their best when they are ill or battling hormonal fluctuations which make them want to scream one minute and break down in tears the next. The quote above is simply referring to your relatively healthy individual. And yes, I realize some people will be "pre-disposed" to a nature that lends itself to more easily combating the discouragement battle.

A few months ago I was reading about the importance of loosing weight. Alas, that is a topic that millions of us struggle with. But I have to say, I just wanted to hug whoever wrote the article I was reading. They made the comment that, yes...it is definitely important to exercise, eat well and keep your weight at a normal range - but they also brought to my attention the fact that when people are overweight it can actually be helpful to a point.

Of course, my ears perked up immediately. What was this person talking about? I mean, yeah...they made it clear that a normal weight range is what we should always be shooting for if we're not there already. However, while we are in the "overweight zone"...keep in mind the fact that all the extra weight we are carrying is actually potentially strengthening our bones...so that when we do loose the excess weight, we just may find that our bones have been strengthened a bit in the process.

How true is that? I don't know...but it does illustrate a true principal that can be applied to many areas of our lives. How's that? A truly great person doesn't make excuses. A truly great person is great in spite of the odds stacked against him. As a matter of fact, when things are bleak and he/she refuses to let discouragement defeat them...they become even stronger. Remember:

A Man's Greatness is Measured by What is Takes to Discourage Him. It is:

The Greatness Gauge.

Monday, November 22, 2010

And I Thought I Was Alone...

What am I referring to? I'm referring to Christians who "can't find a church". Why? Oh, there are lots of reasons. Perhaps they're looking for a church that will meet all their needs. Or maybe they're tired of "all the hypocrites" and don't want to associate themselves with that group of people anymore. Then there are the people who can't seem to get over the fact that "so and so" (who really should have known better) hurt their feelings...whether it was two weeks ago, two years ago or 20 years ago. You fill in the blanks.

I can relate. Two years ago, when I was experiencing conflicting emotions over this very subject, I came to the realization that I needed to stop looking at people and start looking at God. The fact is, it is highly unlikely that whatever hurt you is encouraged in the Bible. BTW, I'm not talking about people who take things out of context...or throw their own spin on things. I remember, years ago, a pastor told me to be sure to refrain from taking his word as gospel. He reminded me and others that he is just a human being that is susceptible to human error just like anybody else...so to please make sure we run anything he says by what God in the Bible says.

Alas, you will have a difficult time doing that if you don't know your Bible. I'm not talking major theological issues, here. I'm referring to simple things like "Love the Lord your God with all your heart,mind and soul and love your neighbor as yourself". God teaches us to be loving, kind, gentle, patient, etc. Chances are, you were hurt by someone who didn't display those characteristics...but since they were "religious" you associated those actions as "church" related - not because it was biblical but because someone in the church acted in a way they may have thought was correct...but it really wasn't. Just run it by what God teaches.

But people are people...and they're everywhere. Churches,work,restaurants,movies...everywhere. And what's more - you are there with them whether you like it or not. Yeah... even you make mistakes. Same here.

And I thought I was alone...

Friday, November 19, 2010

Butterfly Wings

Story by...our friend, Anonymous

One day a small opening appeared on a cocoon, a man sat and watched for the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to force its body through that little hole. Then it seemed to stop making any progress. It appeared as if it had gotten as far as it could and it could go no further.
So the man decided to help the butterfly, he took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon. The butterfly then emerged easily.
But it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings. The man continued to watch the butterfly because he expected that, at any moment, the wings would enlarge and expand to be able to support the body, which would contract in time. Neither happened!
In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings. It never was able to fly.
What the man in his kindness and haste did not understand was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required for the butterfly to get through the tiny opening were God's way of forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings so that it would be ready for flight once it achieved its freedom from the cocoon.
Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our life. If God allowed us to go through our life without any obstacles, it would cripple us. We would not be as strong as what we could have been.
We could never fly.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Scar Experiment...

(Story adapted by Louis Lapides from Still More Hot Illustrations for Youth Talks, Wayne Rice, Zondervan Publishing House. Pg. 79.)

A scientific researcher assembled ten unsuspecting volunteers for a psychological study called the Scar Experiment. The participants were separated into ten different cubicles equipped without mirrors. The purpose of the study was to observe how people would respond to a stranger with a marred physical appearance, such as a facial scar. Using Hollywood makeup tricks, the scientist put bloody and gruesome scars on each volunteer's left cheek, and displayed the new "scar" to each participant using a small handheld mirror. After glancing at their marred image, the mirror was taken away. The researcher's final step was to inform each volunteer that some finishing powder needed to be placed on his/her scar to prevent it from smearing. In reality, the researcher used a tissue to wipe off the scar. But the volunteers still believed they had the awful scars on their faces.
Each individual was sent out into the waiting rooms of different medical offices with instructions to notice how strangers responded to their appearance. After the appointed time, the ten volunteers returned to the scientific researcher and all shared the same report. In their encounters they noticed that strangers were ruder to them, less kind and stared at their scar. Regardless of the removal of the false scars, their unhealthy perspective on themselves affected how they thought others saw them.
In contrast, the scars and pain we carry inside us are hardly ever obvious to everyone on the outside. We make them visible by our actions towards others. If we see ourselves as unlovable, worthless and defective, we will often respond towards individuals in an unloving, insecure and discouraging manner. Meaningful and trusting relationships become very difficult to form.
It is surprising to learn a positive self image does not come from how we look on the outside, but on how we feel on the inside. In order to have a lasting, healthy view of self, we must base our worth upon God's unconditional love and value of us. King David sings, "Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous-and how well I know it!" (Psalm 139:14) (NLT). Through a personal relationship with our Creator, we can find healing of those inner scars and deep wounds that hinder us from enjoying fulfilling relationships. There is no need to worry about what other people think of us when we know God has already placed His highest worth on our lives.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Big John

I don't know who wrote the story below, but I wanted to share it with you. You see, I can relate to the bus driver in this story. I won't say anything else. Read on. :)

One fine day, a bus driver went to the bus garage, started his bus, and drove off along the route. No problems for the first few stops, a few people got on, a few got off, and things went generally well.
At the next stop, however, a big hulk of a guy got on. Six feet eight, built like a wrestler, arms hanging down to the ground. He glared at the driver and said, "Big John doesn't pay!" and sat down at the back. Did we mention that the driver was five feet three, thin, and basically meek? Well, he was. Naturally, he didn't argue with Big John, but he wasn't happy about it.
The next day the same thing happened--Big John got on again, made a show of refusing to pay, and sat down. And the next day, and the one after that, and so forth. This grated on the bus driver, who started losing sleep over the way Big John was taking advantage of him.
Finally he could stand it no longer. He signed up for body building courses, karate, judo, and all that good stuff. By the end of his summer vacation, he had become quite strong; what's more, he felt really good about himself.
So on the next Monday, when Big John once again got on the bus and said, "Big John doesn't pay!" the driver stood up, glared back at the passenger, and screamed, "And why not?"
With a surprised look on his face, Big John replied, "Big John has a bus pass."

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Reign of the Brain!

Did you know that it takes approximately 17 years for a solid medical study to actually make its way to your average doctors office? Yeah. I was indignant when I discovered that little tidbit of information. I have to say, though...I'm beginning to relate to being behind the times instead of behind the eight ball. That's how I feel right now, anyway.

I knew the human brain was complex. So complex I didn't bother studying it as much as I would listen to other people tell me things like ... well, I'm not going to go there because I don't want you to focus on any particular issue. The point is, I oftentimes will buy into things without blinking twice. Hey, when a person speaks with confidence...it apparently doesn't matter what they say. Most of us "eat what we've been fed".

Over time I discovered I was wrong to believe everything so easily. But recently I've been realizing how much true scientific study has been done on the brain and it is fascinating. Go to Google and type in "Brain Patterning". You'll be amazed. Is everything accurate? I don't know. But I do know that enough things are repeated that it gives me a better picture of the serious role our brain plays in our everyday lives.

Have you ever heard of brain plasticity or neuroplasticity? The basic definition says that neuroplasticity is the lifelong ability of our brains to reorganize "neural pathways" based on new experiences. Very simply put; our brains respond to new information, images, concepts, etc. If that is true, then it stands to reason that since experiences actually physically alter our brains, they can also alter how we "see" the world. Hhmmm...interesting. I wonder if that is why some people say they feel like they've been "born" with homosexuality, for example. Also, interesting to note is that since the vast majority of our brain growth took place as we were growing up...well, it helps explain why so many people have a hard time getting "over" issues that were pertinent in their childhood.

The Reign of the Brain is nothing to take lightly.

Monday, November 15, 2010

A Bad Ending Can Signal a Good Beginning...

Why do I get so upset when I think something has come to an end? I do. I cry. I mourn the loss of something I saw as a good thing...and I hate it. But, how many times does the end of something simply signal the beginning of something new? Does that happen? Well...

War ends and a new culture emerges. A caterpillars life ends but a butterfly takes wing. A good book ends...but the resulting inspiration leaves you feeling good. Wasn't a good book? Good thing it came to an end. There are many examples of how an end can be a good thing. When I've got on my negative cap,though, I forget that the "end" might result in something good.

True, there are tons of times when ends aren't at all welcome. Sometimes they are a real bummer, to say the least. The end of a good job comes to mind. How can that be a good thing? The end of my ability to wear small clothes. Uh, I'm not liking that either. The end of a favorite pets life? The end of a persons life who you really loved. How can those be good things?

My answer. The end of something good isn't always a good thing. That's why I, as a Christian, love the verse "For God causes all things to work together for good...for those who love Him and are called according to His Purpose". Romans 8:28 It's the verse I hold onto when things are looking bad.

With God at the helm, even ...

A bad ending can signal a good beginning.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Warrior... Part 1

Where are you in this story? Are you God's friend or Satan's friend? Where do you want to be? People can flip sides all the time! Is it time for you to change your path and listen to the God who loves you?

The Warrior-Part One

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Are You Convinced...or Excited???

Wow. Earlier, I was talking to my daughter, Cari, and she told me something that I thought was so insightful that I asked her if I could share it with you. Being who she is, she gave me the green light.

You know how you hear things sometimes that are, like... whatever. Other times you hear something that really rings true and "resonates" with you? This was one of those times for me.

Well, it's like this. I've been walking with the Lord for almost 34 years. Why so long? Because I was convinced that Christianity was true. I'll tell you more about that another time, but for now I want to relay a story.

"Katy" told "Suzanne" about a product she was excited about. After listening to Katy for a period of time, Suzanne eventually told Katy that she was convinced that the product was a good one. She probably thought Katy would be pleased with her answer... but instead, Katy said "What? I don't want you to be convinced... I want you to be excited!"

That's an excellent distinction that Katy made. When Cari relayed that message to me, it hit me like a ton on bricks. Wow! In regards to my Christianity, I have been someone who is absolutely convinced that it is true. I'm so convinced that I'm willing to be rejected over it. And that, for me, is huge. Seriously, huge. So... I am convinced. But am I excited? I'll ask you the same question:

Are You Convinced...or Excited?

Friday, November 12, 2010


Yesterday, I said that I understood why people embrace the "Preach the Gospel...use words when necessary" idea...to a point. But more and more, I am seeing the other side of the equation. Oh, how the pendulum swings, eh? We either have people "living the gospel...but not speaking out" or "speaking out...but not living the way God intended." The "balanced" approach doesn't mean we should sit on the fence. Reminds me of the proverb...He who walks down the middle of the road can be run down by traffic from both sides." I want to take a stand in that regard, but for me it is difficult. But, I know it is not impossible to live a loving life that is a reflection of God and share God's Word...with words. What an idea.

Do I sound harsh when I suggest that we don't "speak out" enough? Hey, it's hard for me to hear as well. But I am willing to look at the possibility that perhaps we have gone too far with our "Preach without Speech" philosophy. I mean, how many people today even know what the gospel is? If you are already a true, believing Christian...that question is a no-brainer. But is it so easily grasped outside your Christian circle? Outside my Christian circle? Or am I too busy trying to be a nice person that I use that as an excuse to refrain from sharing God's Word? "Don't want to offend anybody." "Don't want people to think I am an unloving person." "Don't want to be rejected."
Sigh...yeah, that's me. Typically.

What I am saying is simply that we take the "Preach without Speech" thing too far. That's all. We use it as an excuse to ignore at least 513 commands in the bible that I am aware of that tell us to...preach. Share the Good News of Christ with words.
Now the question is...


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Preach Without Speech...

I've heard it said in many ways by people of various persuations, that it is important to "Preach without Speech". You've undoubtedly heard the "Preach the gospel...use words when necessary" phrase or concept. I certainly understand that thinking and have embraced it myself, thinking I was being very broad minded and mature when I so easily espoused that point of view.

A few weeks ago, somebody challenged my thinking in that area. At first it made me angry, but slowly I began to see the point that the person in question was trying to make. Frankly, so many times people have preached the gospel without living it in their everyday lives that the gospel to some people almost became a synonym for "religious hypocrisy". That's because people were equating the gospel with religion and religious people. People who obviously had not yet learned how to truly apply God' words to their everyday lives. Not as big a deal as we make it out to be. I mean...do we expect physical babies, for example, to act like mature adults?. No. Apparently, however, the world has that expectation of us. And to a point, I understand what they are saying.

Tomorrow, we can check out this idea a bit more...

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Pricey but Priceless.

I'll tell you right now. I don't like pain. At all. A couple of days ago, my right knee started hurting non-stop. No, I'm not going to talk about it and complain...but it did remind me of something. Well, first of all I was bummed to have to deal with another "pain". Gettin pretty darn tired of the ole "pain pattern" that seems to be encroaching into my life with steady veracity. Reminds me of a birthday card my brother-in-law gave my husband. The card is hilarious. "Worf" from Star Something, is on the front of the card. He says: "Old Age is Approaching" on the front of the card. Then you open it and he continues: "Apparently you have not chosen to fight".

I love that card.

So what does that have to do with anything? Well, since pain seems to be the order of the day of late, I've been thinking about it a lot. Yeah...I do that pretty frequently. Think. Analyse. (You have to be careful, though...it could make you dizzy). Anyway, I have reminded myself of the good aspect of pain. We all know it can be pricey. Don't think anybody needs any reminders about that. But sometimes we forget why pain exists in the first place. We seem to think of it as something that needs to be banished from our lives as soon as possible.

Well, I love pain relief...but I need to remind myself that aches and pains are there for a reason. They are trying to tell us something. Will we listen to those "maladies" or shut them up without a trial?

Too many times we have a knee-jerk reaction to pain. Instead of asking ourselves what that pain could be trying to tell us...we want to quickly rid ourselves of it. After all, it hurts. Now, I realize I'm not a doctor...though it is my personal opinion that they are highly overrated. A good doctor, however, will identify the reason for the pain and attempt to deal with that issue. He or she will also welcome your input and will not be put off by your questions. They will see the value in listening to you. Doctors like that are hard to find, but not impossible. However, don't sell yourself short. You know your body better than anyone. For example, the only reason I knew that the pain in my knee was possibly due to excess pressure due to quick weight gain...is because it has happened to me before. The point is,there is a reason behind things that we sometimes neglect to see...and pain serves as a very helpful reminder to us of the importance of...whatever. I tell you what. Whenever I start to reach for a piece of bread or something that I know is not "helpful"... I feel the pain in my knee and am immediately reminded of the importance of loosing some unwanted weight. All the sudden, that cookie doesn't look as inviting. Pain leads us to healing in the sense that it helps us identify the problem. True, pain is...

Pricey but Priceless

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Turn Your Life Down... It's Too Loud!

How can a persons life be too loud? You probably have some ideas of your own and I would love to hear it, after all... "there is wisdom in a multitude of counselors". But as for me - what do I think of when I think of a life that is so loud it needs to be turned down? Hhmmm...let me think.

Tick, tock, tick,tock...

Okay, I'm back. The word that keeps popping into my head is "distractions". A loud life doesn't necessarily equal the volume control on your music station. Distractions take countless forms. I'll tell you what my distractions are. You can comment on yours. I'm thinking that whatever takes your mind off God is a distraction. Are all distractions bad? No, I sure don't think so. Hey... I gotta eat, and I rather enjoy it I might add. It certainly is not a negative experience- unless of course, you are a kid whose mother is forcing you to eat beets that you can't stand the smell of. But for the most part, eating is a good thing. Lots of things are good. However, when you have so much on your plate that you can't keep your priorities straight or you have so much to do that you don't even have time for a quick breakfast...it's time to do some re-evaluating.

But I digress. I was going to tell you at least one distraction that I am aware of in my life. It is so loud I can't hear God's voice. Nobody can see, therefore it is unlikely they would guess it was a problem.

So, what is it? I lie. Not to others. I'm squeaky clean when it comes to telling the truth to people other than "yours truly". My problem is that I lie to myself all the time. Quietly, so nobody can disagree with me. I tell myself things like, "I'm worthless. If I were to die today, nobody would even care...as a matter of fact, they would be better off. I'm ugly. The job I have doesn't pay much because I am worth so little. I'll never amount to anything". The list of lies I listen to on a daily basis is loud. Very loud...and I need to turn it down. For that matter, I need to turn it off completely. Aahh... so much easier said than done.

Some things need to be turned off, other things simply need to be turned down. When we recognize that and quiet our lives, we will have the opportunity to hear God better. The Bible says, "Be still and know that I am God".

Ask yourself...

Is It Time to Turn My Life Down...Could It Be Too Loud?

Monday, November 8, 2010


You know how, in science fiction, parallel universes are eventually spoken of? Not only have all the various Star Trek series touched on that time and again...but it is also spoken of in popular T.V. shows like "Fringe". Well, you may think something like a parallel universe is limited to fiction...but I think it is a topic that is very relevant to us today. To me and you. All of us.

What ever am I talking about? I'm referring not so much to parallel universes as I am thinking of how many different worlds we live in. Really. For every human being that has or will ever live, there is a unique world that is seen only through the lenses of their own eyes. True, we may make fun of people who "live in their own world". Comedian Brian Regan even has a hilarious routine that includes speaking irritatingly of people whose range of vision is very narrow. What was the name he came up with? Oh..."Excuse me, Captain You-Planet". I laugh every time I hear those words. Perhaps because I know what he is talking about when he is speaking of "those" people.

Unfortunately, all people...whether we like it or not...see the world through their own personalized lens. We are all a bunch of "Captain You Planets" whether we mean to be or not. True, there are varying degrees of lenses. We have:

The Lofty Lens. People who look at the world with their lofty lens certainly mean well. As a matter of fact, they would probably insist that they have a wide-angle lens with which they view the world. They understand that they are not alone in the universe, that there are myriads of people "out there" who all have their own lives and viewpoints. Indeed, many times throughout the day they try to view the world through other peoples eyes. Unfortunately, since they are only human...they will always eventually default back to their own "lens".

The Limited Lens. These people don't even try to look at the world with "another lens". Why? Different reasons. Some are too insecure in their own world to even consider venturing in to a world that would be like "taking on other peoples problems". They're not trying to be insensitive...they're just trying to survive. If they do think about it, they will quickly dismiss the idea as their pragmatic mind tells them that to do so would be useless.

God's Lens. Not much to say here other than to say that God does not have a lens...therefore He is not limited by it.

Even the loftiest lens doesn't compare to the vision that God has for us. Will I continue to look through the lens that is a part of me? Yes. And frankly, to go from a limited lens to a lofty lens is a worthy goal. The fact is, Gods lack of a lens is one reason why He has no limitation when He sees us. A wise person will embrace that reality and allow Him access to his life that is trusting and open. After all, Gods lack of a lens in our lives results in a range of vision that is not limited by...

Captain You Planet

Saturday, November 6, 2010


A vacationing family drives along in their car, windows rolled down, enjoying the warm summer breeze of the sunny day. All of a sudden a big black bee darts in the window and starts buzzing around inside the car.
A little girl, highly allergic to bee stings, cringes in the back seat. If she is stung, she could die within an hour. "Oh, Daddy," she squeals in terror. "It's a bee! It's going to sting me!"
The father pulls the car over to a stop, and reaches back to try to catch the bee. Buzzing around towards him, the bee bumps against the front windshield where the father traps it in his fist.
Holding it in his closed hand, the father waits for the inevitable sting. The bee stings the father's hand and in pain, the father lets go of the bee.
The bee is loose in the car again. The little girl again panics, "Daddy, it's going to sting me!" The father gently says, "No honey, he's not going to sting you now. Look at my hand."
1 Cor 15:55 -- "Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?" Jesus says to us, "Look at my hands." He has Satan's sting, the sting of death, the sting of sin, the sting of deceit, the sting of feeling worthless. Jesus has all of those stingers in His hands.
When you see that nail-scarred hand, realize that, on your behalf, Jesus took all the pain that Satan could throw at Him. He reduced Satan to a big black bee that's lost its stinger - all Satan can do is buzz. That's the victory that Jesus won for you! The key is that you take hold of that victory - if Satan can deceive you into thinking it isn't there - you'll live like it isn't!

Author Unknown

Friday, November 5, 2010

Intervention -vs- Interference

This morning I was thinking about God and how He sometimes intervenes...but other times He remains strangely silent.  I say strange, because oftentimes we don't understand why God allows some things but intervenes in other instances.  Have you ever wondered that?  I have.

So I thought and I prayed.  Sometimes I get answers, or at least partial answers.  Other times I get silence.  Today was a "partial answer" day.  I say partial because how can I know all of God's reasonings?  But one thought I had was based on the question... "Why is it that God allowed certain things in cultures throughout time that are abhorrent to us today"?

When I have questions like that, I tell myself  "I may not understand now...for that matter I may not ever understand - but I do know that God is loving, knows all things past and present, lives outside of time, wants our best, and is at the same time a righteous God who hates sin and will not tolerate it."    Only God can have all those attributes and more and somehow work them all together for our good.  That brings us back to the question, "Why does God intervene sometimes and not other times?"


1) God allows things or finds it necessary to intervene if it is what He understands is best.  I emphasize He Like it or not, God lives outside of time, knows us completely, understands what it will take to deliver  different people from the same bondage.  He knows.  We think we do.  If you are His child you must accept that reality whether you like it or not.  That is, you will accept it if you want to become better as opposed to bitter.

2) God will not push Himself on us or our culture. That would be interference.  For the most part, God chooses to work on people's hearts when they have opened themselves to Him.  Yes, sometimes He does miracles that are outside our every day experience.  But I would say the majority of the time, He focuses on the condition of the heart. That would be intervention.  What kind of experience will be necessary in order to ensure that their hard heart will soften?    
What must I allow this person to go through temporarily in order for him to have the best future?  Those are some questions I imagine God would ask Himself if He were to express His thoughts in our limited vocabulary.

Yes, throughout time there have been cultural "things" that we, today, find unacceptable.  But God chose to work in the hearts of the people and let them eventually change the culture when they were ready.   Example:  More than one wife.  Slavery, etc.

I actually know many people that seem to understand that concept.  I'm grateful to call them my friends; they understand the importance of using God as an example when they desire to help people and wisely ask themselves if what they are doing is an...

Intervention or Interference?                  

Thursday, November 4, 2010

What Spoils Your Soil?

I was listening to Miles McPherson the other day. He was talking about some trees he planted several years ago. They were all the same type of tree. Same size. All planted the same day on the same property. All of them grew underneath the same sun. They experienced the same amount of water. Same. Same. Same. But wait! Now, all these years later we discover that they are all different sizes? Why?!

I'll tell you. The soil. Yes, they were planted on the same property...but the soil varied from the front yard to the back yard as well as the side of the house. The only thing these trees did not have in common was the soil.

So what is it about soil that is conducive to growth? Maybe an easier question to answer is, "What is it about soil that inhibits growth? Well, one thing is if it is rocky. It is difficult for a plant to take root in those circumstances, since there is no depth of rich soil with needed nutrients. Thorns are another problem. Thorns and weeds. They choke the plant. Definitely not helpful. Those are just a couple of "inhibitors".

What about you and me? How have we grown? Are we like spiritual babies in an adult body? Are there things in our lives that prevent us from "taking root"? Could we be allowing certain things in our lives to "choke out" the Word of God? Ask yourself...

What Spoils Your Soil?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Dilemma Delimitation

What!? Dilemma Delimitation? And what, pray tell, is that? Well, I'll tell you.
1) It's a catchy phrase. Hey, it got your attention didn't it?
2) To delimitate is to mark or prescribe the limits or boundaries of something.

Hence, the title: Dilemma Delimitation. The limitations set on a dilemma. How do you set limits on a dilemma? Well, first acknowledge it, then seek out a solution that will prevent the dilemma from controlling you. How?

For the average American, the solution is sought out vigorously. We hate pain and will do whatever we can to eliminate it from our lives as quickly as possible. We:

1) Make more money and rely on materialism to bring us relief. It works, too. For a while. But only for a while.
2) You have undoubtedly heard the expression: "If you don't have your health, you don't have anything". So, we focus on our health. Nothing wrong with that. Unfortunately, even a healthy person will eventually find life meaningless.
3) Make a name for ourselves. Contribute to society, etc. Again, are you really going to care that somebody put your name on a hospital - when you're dead? Sorry...It isn't my intention to be morbid, but facts are facts. I mean, do you know of anybody in all of history that has not died? I didn't think so. Well, there is one person. He died...but He rose again. His name is Jesus. If you know Him, you will also know that He is the answer to our problems.

Are His solutions quick fixes? Rarely. He uses time, circumstances, experiences and all manner of people, in His solutions that are tailor made for each of His children.

Do we know what those solutions are? Usually not. More often than not we are put in a position where we have to do what the world thinks is ridiculous. We have to have faith and trust in Him to take care of our needs. Faith is key, so God allows situations in our lives that will require our faith to expand. Then, once our faith has expanded...it turns out that it is very much needed. But God, who lives outside of time, already knew that. That's only one reason why we can trust Him. Because we can trust Him, He is the solution to our...

Dilemma Delimitation.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Dangerous Dilemma

When you think about it...since when is a dilemma not dangerous? Yes, there are various degrees of "dilemanation" - I'll grant cha that captain! So, hey, do you like my new word? Either changing meanings of existing words or coming up with new ones altogether is apparently all the rage these days. Dilemanation: Noun or verb. 1) The condition or state of being in a dilemma...as in, "Their dilemantion was a result of the dilemma they found themselves in.
2) The overwhelming dilemmas experienced in this country result in a "Dilemmanation". 3) verb: the act of causing a dilemma. "The dilemmantion of the country was deliberate.

Okay, okay... I had my silly fun for the day. But on the serious side. (Sometimes I hate that side) Anyway. I just thought I'd share with you the dangerous dilemma I find myself in. Well, here goes.

I'm overwhelmed by so much. My frozen shoulder can now be referred to as my frozen shoulders...as in both arms. I can't even get relief when I go to sleep at night. The mild case of poison oak has not gotten better. No, it's worse. Now I itch all over. It hurts to simply sit, because my neck is in pain. Hey I didn't say I was the pain in my neck...simply that I have a pain in my neck and it is non-stop. What else? Oh, I have been betrayed by many people. I won't say more on that. More? I don't want to bore you with more. But it is there. Believe me.

The point I want to make is that, speaking for myself, it is good to be vulnerable - but it is dangerous to live vulnerably. What I mean is that being vulnerable is good...but where do you draw the line between being vulnerable and being a victim? We'll talk about that in a future post. But for now, I want to acknowledge that when we are vulnerable it lets other people know they aren't alone...and that's a good thing. But it isn't an answer to any problem. What is? Tomorrow, we will talk about the solution to the...

Dangerous Dilemma

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Intolerant "Tolerant"

I accepted Christ almost 34 years ago. I have not regretted that decision. Do I expect all other people to make the same choice as I did? No, obviously not. People have a will of their own - myself included. It would be arrogant and patronizing of me to assume all people should believe what I believe and think what I think. How ridiculous. How intolerant.

Years ago when people started making an issue of intolerance - I wholeheartedly agreed with them. Sure, there are some things civil people are intolerant of. People are intolerant of what they perceive as immoral behavior...like murder, for example. However, aside from criminal activity, I certainly would hope people would be tolerant of others. The definition? "In general usage, intolerance is a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward those whose beliefs or personal characteristics (race, religion, nationality, etc.),differ from one's own." We are talking about being permissive towards people - even if we disagree with their thinking or actions...and dare I say it? Their beliefs.

I know many people who have different views than I do- whether it be religion, politics or clothing preferences. We get along well. They are tolerant of me and I of them. It truly is not an issue. However, over the years the definition of intolerance (for some people,anyway) seems to be: "Support and full acceptance of my views -irregardless of yours"...and if you don't support and fully condone my views then you are judging me. To be sure, not everybody falls into this category. It is my opinion that those who do are extreme and radical.

I am not nor have I ever been in a place to judge anybody. That is God's jurisdiction. If you don't believe that God exists...then you shouldn't have a problem with this. You can simply feel sorry for me and go on with your life. However, not all people feel that way. Their judgement of me and other Christians is all too clear. Frankly I find that behavior repugnant, disappointing and, yes, intolerant.
The very people who pride themselves in being "tolerant" don't seem to know the meaning of the word. They are, in my estimation...

The Intolerant "Tolerant"