Archive for October, 2018

A Word to the Wise

10-31-2018 – A Word to the Wise: Feeling is an index to what is in the heart, not a justifier of what is there.

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A Word to the Wise

10-23-2018 – A Word to the Wise: A gentle reminder for those of us that get our feelings hurt easily.

Many people feel deeply about things, but living deeply is another matter. This requires objectivity. Behind almost ever degraded person is something in their life they felt very deeply about. But the question is what did they feel deeply about? Usually it is found to be themselves. Many people feel deeply, but the capacity to live deeply is the test of life. Feeling is an index to what is in the heart. Not a justifier of what is there.

Do you ever wonder why the small thoughtless things people do hurt you so much? Do you find yourself telling yourself to stop being so childish, that you should have the maturity to overlook these short comings in others?

If you experience these things then you have a symptom many Christians just like you suffer from, that of sensitivity. We strive to cultivate it on the one hand then wonder what to do because of it on the other. Without this sensitivity we would lack the capacity to feel deeply for others. It you see, is the “emotional eye” that causes us to feel and see the needs of others.

It is valuable to Christians; it is one of the elements that helps us to love our neighbor as ourselves. We comprehend feeling in others more deeply when we feel deeply ourselves.

But there is a balance, a safeguard for us that keeps us from being torn and destroyed by the virtue and that is understanding. If we do not allow our sensitivity to increase beyond our understanding, it will be a blessing in living, and never a stumbling block. So do not try to gain a “tougher skin”, or “harden your heart” for protection, but rather strive to increase your tolerance and understanding to meet these unkindness.

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A Word to the Wise

10-20-2018 – A Word to the Wise: However this is only one part of the equation. The second has to do with anxiety. I need to be more specific here. There are several types of anxiety. Some of which are not being addressed here.

We are not addressing anxiety brought on by certain drugs, or substances like coffee, drugs or alcohol. Nor are we addressing medical conditions which may result in anxiety. Specifically generalized anxiety is being targeted. This means excessive worry not confined to a specific situation or event present for a long period of time. It is the daily worrier fearful of what might happen.

This anxiety is rooted in what happens at 2 years of age when the Satan plants rebellion in the heart of the child. We have all seen the rebellion. The two or three year old looking you right in the face and saying NO! Now this may look cute, but it signifies that Satan’s seed is activated. With the presence of rebellion one always experiences anxiety. Thus the birth of fearfulness.

Now the common cure for anxiety is Xanax which is one of 40 similar drugs manufactured by man to relieve anxiety. The problem is all of these drugs are addictive, and lose effectiveness.

However, the Lord’s prescription is somewhat different. The book of Psalms the chief scriptures for dealing with emotions, stipulates some fifty times that fear of the Lord is escape from anxiety. The book of Proverbs which follows Psalms adds another 21 examples of what the fear of the Lord accomplishes.

Why acquision of the fear of the Lord is so important is because one is able to fear only one thing at a time. If that fear is rooted in the Lord there is no place for anxiety, nor rebellion.

So how does one acquire fear of the Lord? Fear of the Lord is the antithesis of Pride. Fear of the Lord is acquired by taking account of the mighty works of the Lord both in scripture and in one’s own daily life.

More specifically the following assignment targets anxiety.

Again this is a writing assignment. Begin with the book of Genesis. Look for anything and everything which indicates that the Lord did something. Intervenes in the affairs of man time and again. Proceed throughout the whole bible. I acknowledge it is going to be a long assignment. Proceed through the New Testament. The miracles, the book of Acts, Peter being rescued from prison.

The purpose is to convince self beyond any doubt of the power of the Almighty. The Lord acts in frightening ways to prove his great power.

After you have completed this first part of the task turn to your own life and begin listing all of the interventions the Lord has made for you. Events situations which seemed impossible to escape yet the impossible occurs.

The result of this task will be a fixed trust that the Lord is powerful and is able to care for you. Fear of the Lord is awareness of just how powerful the Lord is and results in the kind of awe found in Isaiah 6, where Isaiah finds himself before the throne of God. This experience overshadows any other fear and diminishes pride to the point of humility. Anxiety evaporates. It is just not possible to fear two things at once.

I have used following example previously from my own life, I repeat it now because the situation is burned so deeply in my being. The situation occurs in the midst of my study of the Fear of the Lord.

I worked the first fifteen years as a patrol officer in the area of South Dallas which is known for its exceedingly high crime. The following event occurred during the third year of service in the early 1980’s.

It was mid-July and very hot. My partner and I are preparing to leave the station at four in the afternoon. We had just let the dispatcher know we were available for a call. She responds, ” 341, you have a signal 6 at 1852 Valentine. (341 is our element number. Signal 6 is a disturbance call.) “Received, I said.” We start toward the location.

Again the dispatcher calls stating, “341, we are getting numerous calls from that location.” “Received dispatch we are en route.”

Silence fills the squad car as we both begin to feature in our minds the location.

Ten seconds later, the emergency signal was emitted, and the dispatcher said, “341 your call is now a shooting. You are authorized code three.” Tenseness in the dispatcher’s voice reflected our own feelings of the moment as red lights and siren pierced the hot afternoon.

A few moments later, again the emergency signal was emitted and again a very tense dispatcher speaks , “342, 345, 313, 311, cover 341 on a shooting at 1852 Valentine. Shots are being fired and the suspects are using automatic weapons. There are numerous victims approach the location with caution.”

In the distance we could hear the gunfire even over our siren as we approached the location. “341 we are a block from the location. Inform the other elements shots are still being fired.”

Having been studying the fear of the Lord, I had memorized some passages to repeat to myself in times of stress. Passages like; “The Angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him,” You who fear the Lord, trust in the Lord! He is their help and shield.” “The fear of man lays a snare, but he who trusts in the Lord is safe.”

Even in the midst of the chaos, a sense of calmness overwhelms me as I review these passages. It is amazing how a physical sense of peace and well-being flows and calms the agitation and terror of the moment. As we were pulling up the suspect is fleeing the scene unknown to us. We get out, weapons drawn. There are bodies everywhere.

But that deep sense of peace in the midst of chaos. That is what Scripture promises. If you want it this is where you begin.

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A Word to the Wise

10-19-2018 – A Word to the Wise:  Colossians 2:21-23. tells us abstinence will not work. What does? The root problem is selfishness, leading to obsessive compulsive behavior. The spiritual treatment for obsessive compulsive behavior rooted in addiction is handwriting out 25000 things you are grateful for beginning with conception.

The list includes things the Lord has done for you, friends, family, even enemies. For instance how many dirty diapers did your caretaker change for you? How much thanks or even consideration has been given for those clean diapers?

You see it is not how hard it will be to come up with the 25000, rather how much has been forgotten.

Why does this assignment work? It takes the mind off what one craves and places it on what one has received. One is able to crave only one thing at a time.

However this is only one part of the equation. The second has to do with anxiety.

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A Word to the Wise

10-18-2018 – A Word to the Wise:  Often I am ask to give suggestion on how to ‘cure’ addictions. When I worked on the Substance Abuse Unit at Terrell State Hospital I frequently would tell and alcoholic how to stop drinking, that is take Anabuse. In 15 years and 5000 clients only 5 took the advice.

That advice was humanistic in nature. After praying about addiction, The Lord said, any type, alcohol, drug, sex, oil dirt, blood, food, etc. may be pushed out of the heart by one simple assignment.

I have given it numerous times, no one completed it, though several have been helped by starting it.

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A Word to the Wise

10-10-2018 – A Word to the Wise: As a counselor often you find yourself working with strange people or situations. This seems to be particularly true of addicts.

I had one case where the person (this was new to me) was addicted to eating oil dirt. That is they would drain the oil out of vehicle into the dirt, move the vehicle and then proceeded to eat the dirt. Now to be honest I found that somewhat odd until the next person.

Now oddities seem to come in pair. This person would burglarize blood banks and steal fresh blood and drink it. Now that is a strange addiction.

But there is an even stranger group. This group of people, (a lot of Christians) who firmly believe that their parents owe them support for the rest of their life. Not only food, clothing, and shelter but they are expected to pay for their alcohol, drugs or other addiction, pay their bills and get them out of legal trouble. Now according to this group that is being a loving parent, or friend.

Now most of us would think that is foolish, and to be honest it is. However, along with this concept many others hold to a belief called ‘unconditional love.’That is the demand of others that we do anything and everything demanded based on the idea that Christians are to love unconditionally, meaning giving anything ask of them regardless. The Bible does not teach that in fact it teaches just the opposite.

Now as we look at those concepts we see just how foolish they are and yet there is another group of Christians, at least they call themselves Christians, who go to church, give a couple of dollars when the collection plate is past and consider that Christianity. On the week days, they lie, steal, cheat their neighbors, cuss like a sailor, get angry over the smallest matters with family, friends, neighbors and not a few enemies, and call that living a holy life.

Most of us are able to see that these things are not what Jesus requires of us. But there is another group probably which I and many of you are a part of that do and believe things inconsistent with a godly way of life.

Do you care to list your misdeeds?

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A Word to the Wise

10-9-2018 – A Word to the Wise: – Personal history

Sometimes the Lord does something that absolutely astounds you, it just leaves you breathless.

In 1982 I was diagnosed with diabetes. Now there are certain indicators that you have a problem but if you’re unfamiliar with the indicators, well you learn. One of the big indicators is that you cannot pass a bathroom without stopping, yes you have to visit them every ten or so minutes.

The police department at that time required everyone to qualify with their weapon every six months. Rain or shine, hot or cold, snow or ice, the only excuse for not showing up to qualify was if it were lightning.

I received my noticed and made plans to go out to the firearms range. Before leaving I took my blood sugar. It had been high it was still not under control. In fact it was over five hundred (suppose to be 80-120).

Getting to the fire arms range I made the usual stop at the bathroom, halfway through the lecture I went again. While driving out I noticed my vision was somewhat blurred. I hoped it would clear up.

I get up on the 25 yard firing line look down at the target and I had double vision! (Not unusual with such high sugar levels, but new to me). I could not see straight.

The command comes over the loud speaker, ready on the firing line. Then as if that were not bad enough it began to rain! A real down pour. Did not make a difference have to qualify in the rain. Could not see the target clearly before now, well let’s add a little rain. It’s pouring down rain.

Finished the combat course, go down to get my score, did not even want to look at the poor target. Instructor handed me the score card, and ask if it were the first time. Looked at him, looked at the score, and it was a perfect score. What, I do not understand. How is that even possible?

Finished, left the range and once out the gate I ask the Lord, what was that all about? That was not possible. His answer; I just wanted to lift your spirit.

Every time I go out to qualify I look up at that board, only 9 Reserve Officers in 50 years scored perfect scores. The Lord did that, just to lift my spirits.

You see the Lord does care for His children, He is God, and there is no other.

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A Word to the Wise

10-2-2018 – Personal History – Exodus 12:38 makes a simple statement of fact; “a mixed multitude went out with them.” The text indicates that a large group of non-Israelites left Egypt with Israel. Ever wondered why? I have an opinion. This group had witnessed the power of the Lord nine times, no doubt some were even first born who had taken refuge in the homes of the Jews and their life saved.

You see they had witnessed the power of the God of Israel, and they wanted to give their allegiance to Him. Egypt had been decimated by this God, He was now their God.

I think there are a couple of lesson here for us. First if you reflect back are you able to count the number of miraculous interventions the Lord has made in your life? Situations that you know beyond a shadow of a doubt the God did that for you. None? One? A dozen? More? Ever tell anyone about them?

Because we do not share these miracles we find it difficult to convince, children, relatives, friends, even enemies of just how powerful the God is that we serve.

It seems to me that there is a special place in God’s word just meant for these testimonies. In my bible it’s located at Psalm 136. Here the Lord is listing a host of interventions He has made for Israel, and also for all of His creatures.

It is a perfect place for my own list of miracles. One day my children and maybe grandchildren will come across the list.

It starts all most from the day of my birth. A twin, premature, hardly breathing. That is just the beginning. Shortly thereafter he saved my eyes. If He had not, then years later I would not have been able to join the military, and thereafter the police force.

I still clearly remember the day I ask the Lord to allow me to marry my wife, Mary. I had just met her, a miracle in itself. His answer was Matthew 7:7.

One event after another graces the page. Graduating with a four year degree in two and half years, with honors!! Me who could hardly pass high school. Or the huge one rescued me from bondage. If that is not enough then to testify about the numerous times he protected me from dangerous situation where my very life was threatened.

Nor does it stop there. He has given me honorable children who love and serve Him. He gave me a name, He did these things how can I but testify to the world His gracious deeds.

But the real point is this. We look around and try to tell others to serve Him and they turn their backs, or do not want to hear it. I think the reason is we do not have personal stories to tell them what the Lord has done for us. Or we are fearful that others will laugh at us or tell us God stopped doing miracles 2000 years ago.

He did not. We just have stopped asking Him for them. So what has your God done for you?

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