Archive for April, 2021

4-20-2021 – A Word to the Wise – On Respect

Just how does one teach a child respect? Perhaps y making the child your best friend? Or perhaps just beating it into them? We have all seen it. We walk in the store to do a little shopping and there is a mother with a five-year-old pitching a fit wanting a toy. She bribes the brat with a sucker and he pitches it across the store and the screams intensify. Or perhaps the father who promises a sound whipping when they get home.

Given the situation this nation is in, I suppose neither method has worked. It sure has taught the sports idols nothing about respect for the nation’s flag or its historical heroes. So where does it begin how does one ingrain the child a respect for others, and for holy things?

Sixty years ago my mother summed it up in a short essay let me share a few lines with you.

You cannot teach a child respect unless you first have respect for the child. This is the point of the beginning. Attitude and emotions speak an unmistakable language which no amount of lecturing can disqualify. A child comprehends the behavior and the attitude of respect for another by experiencing it first for another.

Where does this experience come from? From the first day of birth, the child closely observes the behavior of those around him. The behavior of the adults becomes the pattern by which the child develops attitudes and behavior.

Mother goes on to say: Young people are failing to develop the proper self-respect and respect for others mainly because of the warped and inconsistent teaching they are receiving. Too often we ask them to respect us on the basis of an adult parent-teacher. This is no basis at all until it is made consistent with the basic truth. All human beings are worthy of respect.

This failure on our part has led to what we see depicted on our screens in every possible context whether, TV, computers, games, or social media. Mother goes on to say:

A child’s capacity to respect is developed by careful and consistent guidance in his sense of values. In other words, respect is a process of growth. We do not demand respect in a child. We guide him in his development of it.

My mother then summarizes the problem and process:

Too often in trying to teach respect, we only teach respect of persons which of itself is sin. Respect is taught from early childhood, and it is not based on age, but on humanity. You should not permit your child to speak to another child insultingly anymore than to you. Another child is a human being, a creation of God, therefore, he is worthy of respect. Many try to apply it to the age or parents and then wonder why it doesn’t take. Much harm is done to their whole adjustment to life because you have taught them a false set of values. All that has been taught is really a “respect of persons, rather than a “respect for persons”, a living soul, which is direct from God Himself.

I wish I had said it myself!

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4-13-2021 – A Word to the Wise – This is one passage I find myself using extensively in counseling. I want to share it along with an explanation of why I find it so important

When I was a child,

    I spoke like a child,

      I thought like a child,

       I reasoned like a child.

        When I matured,

 I put aside childish things

 (I Corinthians 13:11)

There are several reasons this passage strikes a note in my thinking. I suspect growing up in an abusive situation we develop some interpretations of life which influence our relationships and beliefs. Truly, as children we speak, think, and reason like a child because we lack the world view necessary to process the experiences. So let’s work with an example.

It’s September 1955. Ten in the evening. The family was just finishing the devotional chart. The night was disturbed by the ringing of the phone. No one ever called this late! For years to come a phone at night was a fearful thing.

Mother answered the phone and I crawled under the dining room table, Fearful; mother did not say much ended the conversation with ‘we will come in the morning.’ I knew something terrible had happened. She was very somber.

We all stood around her, and she softly said. ‘that was the Nelson’s who rent your dad’s apartment in Oklahoma City.  The body of your father was found this afternoon, he had been dead for some time.”

I was not close to my father. He was partial to my sister, my mother partial to my brother. There are many things to say but I want to reduce it to two events that fit this passage.

The first event was the funeral. Many were there, most I did not know. No one spoke to me, which to, be honest, fine with me. But what made me angry, the one thing that disturbed me greatly was all these people standing around laughing and having a great time visiting.

Even to this day, I remember the phone call and those people having such a good time.

So a few years ago the Lord brought this passage to mind to process. Even at that time I spoke of it like a child, felt only the fury a child may experience, reason? Reasoning? out the window.

The Lord said ‘you’re mature now, it is time to put aside the childish perception and process this as an adult.’ To be honest it was 60 years later and I did not want to do that. The Lord would not be put off.

Remember, Jerry jumping up and down on that grave and crying we are even now? Yes, Lord. Even for what? Not rescuing me from my horrible situation. “But child look at how many have profited from your experience, look at where you are now, and how you got here.”

That is all that was said, yet the mature view yields a much different experience.  

A closely connected experience that merged with the above experience was my name. I always hated my name, I figured it took some really foolish thinking to give me the name they did. No doubt probably an unexpected twin and unwanted he deserved the name, the reasoning must have gone.

Most have no idea why I would think that way until they remember it was 1943. My name was the same slang term used to apply to the enemy, how stupid!

Ten years ago the Lord changed my name, but five years ago I discovered the meaning of my birth name. “When I was a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child,” yet I had lived my whole life not knowing what that name meant and that indeed I had lived its meaning. Swordbearer.

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4-5-2021 – A Word to the Wise – Consider what you would say. Having all your present knowledge, and the existence of the ability to time travel to the past if you were transported to the garden of Gethsemane at 1 AM April 2, 33 AD and you walk in on the scene of Jesus prostrate on the ground and His three close friends sleeping. What would you say, or do?

Consider these three men; Peter, James and John. Replace yourself with James since we know very little about him. Peter and John we know a lot about.

So Peter the spokesman for the disciples. Perhaps the oldest and married. Jesus tells him to watch and pray. This is the second time within an hour Jesus warns Peter he is about to make a huge mistake. This final time h tells him pray that you do not sin. Simply speaking at this point in time Peter could have avoided betraying his friend. Do you understand what is being said here? Jesus tells him that the future may be changed.

Some may say that this was not changeable. I disagree. Turn to I Samuel and read with me:

Now they told David, “Behold, the Philistines are fighting against Keilah and are robbing the threshing floors.” 2 Therefore David inquired of the LORD, “Shall I go and attack these Philistines?” And the LORD said to David, “Go and attack the Philistines and save Keilah.” 3 But David’s men said to him, “Behold, we are afraid here in Judah; how much more then if we go to Keilah against the armies of the Philistines?” 4 Then David inquired of the LORD again. And the LORD answered him, “Arise, go down to Keilah, for I will give the Philistines into your hand.” 5 And David and his men went to Keilah and fought with the Philistines and brought away their livestock and struck them with a great blow. So David saved the inhabitants of Keilah.

6 When Abiathar the son of Ahimelech had fled to David to Keilah, he had come down with an ephod in his hand. 7 Now it was told Saul that David had come to Keilah. And Saul said, “God has given him into my hand, for he has shut himself in by entering a town that has gates and bars.” 8 And Saul summoned all the people to war, to go down to Keilah, to besiege David and his men. 9 David knew that Saul was plotting harm against him. And he said to Abiathar the priest, “Bring the ephod here.” 10 Then David said, “O LORD, the God of Israel, your servant has surely heard that Saul seeks to come to Keilah, to destroy the city on my account. 11 Will the men of Keilah surrender me into his hand? Will Saul come down, as your servant has heard? O LORD, the God of Israel, please tell your servant.” And the LORD said, “He will come down.” 12 Then David said, “Will the men of Keilah surrender me and my men into the hand of Saul?” And the LORD said, “They will surrender you.” 13 Then David and his men, who were about six hundred, arose and departed from Keilah,(ESV)

What is important here is the Lord told David exactly what to do and what the consequences would be. But it did not happen because David listened to the Lord and understood the warning.

It was no different for Peter. The Lord told him what would happen in order to change the future. He did not listen. A second time the Lord warned Peter to pray and take heed. Why? Because the future could be altered. But we like Peter neglect the warnings the Lord gives us in life through his word, by his ministers, by our prayers and we turn our heads away.

So now we are in the garden. Why are we here? What does the Lord want to warn us about? Will it change the future?

Notice John is present yet the only thing the Lord said to him was to watch and pray with me, John carries some of the burdens that is overwhelming me. But no one was there for him. It would appear that God sent an angel to comfort him. These two verses are not in the earliest text that we have. It may or may not have occurred. Personally, I do not see how even an angel could comfort Jesus at this moment in time. If an angel did then Jess immediately rose to meet his friend and betrayer.

Now it is your turn. Your there. What will you say or do?

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4-4-2021 – A Word to the Wise – Consider what you would say. Having all your present knowledge, and the existence of the ability to time travel to the past if you were transported to the garden of Gethsemane at 1 AM April 2, 33 AD and you walk in on the scene of Jesus prostrate on the ground and His three close friends sleeping. What would you say, or do?

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