Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

A Word to the Wise

1-4-2020 – A Word to the Wise – On Loving
What is the difference ‘in loving’ and ‘being in love’? What is the difference in day and night?
We tend to think the devil does not love, untrue. The devil loves greatly….himself. We tend to think sociopaths are incapable of love the reality is they do love greatly….themselves.
So why is being in love, so different from loving. Simply because ‘being in love’ is focused on self not on the other. When the sands of time pass so does this ‘love’ pass and another takes its place.
There are many fallacies about love, just plain myths that many tend to accept without thinking. Let me list a few.
The myth exist that if we love we will be loved. It is immediately obvious that this is a self-centered love that demands that another give and we receive. So it is believing that if I give love I will receive love. This myth undermines love all together.
Another misconception is that love is able to exist without discipline. One is hardly able to go out in public and not see parents letting their children disturb and distress others with children’s temper tantrums. How many times have you sat in a public place and the undisciplined parents claim it unloving to discipline thus do nothing and others suffer the madness of little ones.
Another myth is the whole idea of unconditional love. The very term makes me want to vomit. It is an idea dreamed up by selfish self-seeking people determine to get something for nothing. It is a myth that is propagated by the idea that God loves us unconditionally. We can put that to rest with one sentence from the mouth of the Lord. “If you love me you will keep my commandments. “ (John 14:15) RSV. God’s love for us is conditional. It is based on obedience, loyalty, truthfulness, perseverance, and a host of other traits.
You will most often hear this demand for unconditional love from the mouth of selfish children, who demand that you rescue them from the consequences of their bad behavior. To do so is to destroy the child, and reveal not a loving parent but a foolish one.
When I was a teen I had to read “How to win friends and influence people.” To put it another way how to be loved by others. A noble idea, but a self-centered one for its basic purpose is getting others to love you. A task sociopaths have mastered. It is not that the book is worthless. It has some valuable ideas. However our task in life is not to be loved rather to give love.
Jesus in Luke 6 teaches a basic truth. if you love those who love you, what credit is that , everyone does that. The height of love is to love those who hate you. Many of us find this almost impossible, to love the enemy. However this is what we are called on to do as children of God. To stand as shining examples of the one who died for us and calls us to a new life.

Read Full Post »

A Word to the Wise

1-3-2020 – A Word to the Wise – What is the difference between fear and anxiety? Why is anxiety considered a problem for Christians? If one is fearful are they sinning?
There is a distinct difference between anxiety and fear. Fear is the result of a sense of danger bought on by a threat of harm. So what is fear? Let me give an example from my days as a police officer on patrol: July 1988
It is very hot. My partner and I were preparing to leave the station at four in the afternoon. We let the dispatcher know we are available for a call. She responded, ” 341, you have a Signal 6 at 1852 Valentine. (Signal 6 is a disturbance call.)”Received.”
We make small talk as we head in the direction just another typical disturbance call.
The conversation is interrupted by the dispatcher again stating, “341, we are getting numerous calls from that location.” “Received dispatch we are enroute.” Silence filled the vehicle as we both begin to feature the location in our minds.
Ten seconds later, the emergency signal is emitted, and the dispatcher states: “341 your call is now a shooting. You are authorized code three.” Tenseness in the dispatcher’s voice reflects our own feelings of the moment as red lights and siren pierced the hot afternoon.
A few moments later, again the emergency signal is 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.” That to me defines fear.
Fear of the known or in some circumstances what is unknown yet still an actual threat. Real fear is usually attended by certain physical symptoms; dry mouth, hair raising on the back of the neck that defines fear.
Fear is experienced in the face of a threat. It is a physical experience given to mankind to protect from harm. Often one may experience it when there is no apparent threat yet the body may sense something dangerous. So what does the Lord expect of us in the face of danger? I think it is summed up in the opening of Psalm 91: He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High, he who abides in the shadow of the Almighty, will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress; my God, in whom I trust. “For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence;
he will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler. You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor the destruction that wastes at noonday. A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand; but it will not come near you. You will only look with your eyes and see the recompense of the wicked. Because you have made the LORD your refuge, the Most High your habitation, no evil shall befall you, no scourge come near your tent.
Essentially, the passage is encouraging us to live in the presence of the Father and we are able to trust his care and purpose.
In Joshua 1, the people of Israel are on the brink of combat with an unknown enemy and no obvious way to defeat them. The Lord told Joshua “be strong and of good courage.” Courage is only necessary in the face of a fearful situation. This passage is not anxiety oriented it is real physical danger, and it calls for trust in the Father.
In contrasts to fear we have the problem of anxiety. Anxiety is apprehension or disturbed feeling rooted in the desire for something else. It has no basis for existence in the Christian life. Courage is not called for because there is nothing to fear.
Unfortunately, many Christians find their life filled with anxiety. This should not be. I suspect that anxiety for the most part is caused by focus on self.
However it is best to remember that it is difficult to focus on two things at the same time. If our center of attention is on the Lord, and the welfare of others then anxiety will tend to evaporate. If, however, self is the center of our world then we find ourselves occupied by a continual need to protect self, or acquire something for self.
Now some may use Paul and his statement about his anxiety as a justification. However, if you look closely at what he says he makes it clear that the anxiety is not for self, but for the churches. (2 Cor. 11:28).
Anxiety, in reality is a killer, it destroys the emotions, and the physical body. Fear in contrast, protects the body.

Read Full Post »

A Word to the Wise

12-23-2019 – A Word to the Wise – The link between the temptations and the crucifixion of Jesus
Luke 4:1-13 And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan, and was led by the Spirit 2 for forty days in the wilderness, tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing in those days; and when they were ended, he was hungry. 3 The devil said to him, “If you are the n of God, command this stone to become bread.” 4 And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone.’” 5 And the devil took him up, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, 6 and said to him, “To you I will give all this authority and their glory; for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. 7 If you, then, will worship me, it shall all be yours.” 8 And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.’” 9 And he took him to Jerusalem, and set him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to him, “If you are the n of God, throw yourself down from here; 10 for it is written, ‘He will give his angels charge of you, to guard you,’11 and ‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’”12 And Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’” 13 And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him until an opportune time. (RSV)
These temptations fall into three areas; Taking care of daily needs, doing the miraculous, and basically authority over the affairs of men. Obviously, that is an abbreviation. Now what is interesting about the temptations is how they show up three and one half years later for Jesus.
The Satan takes the temptations and indicts the n of Man for His refusal to give into the temptations. Moreover, now Satan makes a mockery of Jesus’s answers. Scoffing at his prior retort me three and one half years before.
Notice the first temptation stones to bread, or taking care of physical needs. Satan’s mockery may be seen in now he taunts the weakened Lord to the point that intervention is necessary. “ As they went out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name. They compelled this man to carry his cross.” Upon reaching the place of execution “ they offered him wine to drink, mixed with gall, but when he tasted it, he would not drink it.” Jesus still refuses to give in and meet physical needs as He did when Satan insists He turn stones into bread. (Mt. 27:32ff) RSV
The second temptation involved throwing himself from the top of the temple with the expectation of divine intervention, a miracle. Notice Matthew 26:50-55; And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads 40 and saying, “You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself! If you are the n of God, come down from the cross.” 41 al the chief priests, with the scribes and elders, mocked him, saying, 42 “He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel; let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. 43 He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he desires him. For he said, ‘I am the n of God.’” (ESV). Here again we find Satan in the words of the Chief Priest and others imploring Him to do a miracle to save Himself mocking the failure to do .
Finally, consider Satan’s last temptation, offering Jesus ultimate authority over the affairs of men if He would fall down and worship him. Once again notice how Satan because of the failed temptation turns it upon the Master. “Then the ldiers of the governor took Jesus into the governor’s headquarters, and they gathered the whole battalion before him. And they stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on his head and put a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before him, they mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” And they spit on him and took the reed and struck him on the head. And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the robe and put his own clothes on him and led him away to crucify him.” Notice Jesus’ own words about what He could do; “Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? “ (Mt. 26:53) RSV Satan reminds Jesus you will not worship me? The look what I will do. I will make you look foolish before your tormenters. Now who is king?
Now how is this relevant to us? We tend to under estimate the work of Satan in our life. One should never, ever underestimate the enemy. I think if we consider it we will discover early perhaps in the pre-teen years the tempter assaults us with the foundation temptations that will follow us through life. Those temptations are deceptive. Pass or fail I think we will find these temptations come back and haunt us in later life, only much more magnified with the tempter on the sidelines taunting with vile remembrances and sideline jokes about our failures.

Read Full Post »

A Word to the Wise

12-8-2019 – A Word to the Wise – Loneliness

Loneliness, what is it? Why is it? Friend or foe?
Some live constantly in the grips of the terror produced by loneliness. Others embrace this odd experience as one would a close companion.
How is it that this experience is a terrible burden which mangles the emotions and hurl’s desperate storms of anguish. What assuages these feelings?
Before we answer this question let me assure you that some wrap themselves in this comfortable blanked to escape life’s trauma. For these few the comfort provided allows a depth of existence which is difficult to grasp. If experienced properly loneliness is a passing experience utilized by the individual to restore peace and fulfillment and direction.
The best example is seen in the life of Jesus when He would withdrawal to spend time with His Father. (Luke 6:12). By the same token we see the Master in Gethsemane, three years later in agony unable to get his disciples to join Him in prayer. (Luke 22:39ff).
So with Jesus we see both extremes. The lesson for us may be that loneliness is a gift at times and at others the depth of abandonment.
All of the great men of faith discovered both extremes and so must we.
Why one may ask? Because loneliness drives us into the arms of the Master. None may assuage the emotions like the Master. The great failure on our part is to refuse to cast ourselves at His feet and be comforted by Him. Instead we flee to endless television programs, mindless games, or other pursuits that only worsen the depths of our agony.
Jesus knows our struggles He has been there, done that He is the solution. Try it.

Read Full Post »

A Word to the Wise

12-7-2019 – A Word to the Wise – Now consider addiction. It should be noted that man has been working desperately to find a cure. For some, the belief is that education is the answer. So for example in an attempt to stop drug abuse among teens, there has been a dramatic increase in the advertisements aimed at this segment of society. Does education work? The reality is that there has been a tremendous increase in the use of both alcohol and drugs among young people. So what about treatment? Rehabilitation centers are popping up all over the country with magical cures (if you have money or insurance) the chief aim of which is to soothe the panic ridden family that has reached its “wits end.” The ultimate failure of rehabilitation lies in its failure to recognize the basic biblical principle that abstinence is no cure for addiction. But man rejects that abstinence is not the answer. The concept is difficult to comprehend because it goes against our natural inclinations. It would seem abstinence is the only answer. Say one has a smoking problem, and then just stops smoking, either by cutting down or laying the cigarettes aside. If that does not work, try aversive therapy, or psychotherapy. The therapies are endless, and the success rate is small. For instance, over 90% of cigarette smokers return to smoking the first year. Even if the abstinence works, nothing has been done about the underlying causes. A new object eventually replaces the present object of addiction.
Alcoholics Anonymous is one type of philosophy that focuses on abstinence. This organization is up-front with addiction; one is always an addict, and one can never drink again. The support groups replace the alcohol, or the drugs, or the overeating with group meetings.
In contrast to these philosophies, God’s word offers hope. Hope that also not only can one be released from the symptom—chemical, objects whatever– but that this whole nature can be washed away. But it is not achieved through abstinence. The Apostle Paul introduces the subject of abstinence and its failures in Colossians 2:20-23. He states that severity to the body such as do not taste, do not touch, while seemingly wise, is actually of no value in checking the indulgence of the flesh.
Even in the natural world man is beginning to learn what God taught centuries ago. Take weight loss. In a study by Johnson and Drenick, which looked at the results of long-term, therapeutic fasting, they noted some dramatic results. Of two hundred patients virtually all lost weight at the onset of fasting. Even a majority maintained the loss for over a year. But fifty percent of the group returned to their original weight within 2 years and by the time nine years had passed, only 5.8% weighed less than they did originally. More startling was the observation that 42% of the child onset and 26% of the adult onset patients weighed more than before the fast began. Many similar studies indicate that rarely do more than 5% maintain weight loss for longer than 2 years. Why is it that abstinence does not work?
There was a major study done several years ago that suggests reasons for the failure of abstinence at solving addiction. This study was conducted at the University of Minnesota. The experiment involved restricting the caloric intake of 36 young, healthy, psychologically normal men who had volunteered for the study as an alternative to military service. During the first three months of the experiment, they ate normally while their behavior; personality and eating patterns were studied. During the subsequent 6 months the men were restricted to about half of their former food intake and lost on the average 25% of their original body weight. This was followed by 3 months of rehabilitation during which the men were gradually refed. These men experienced dramatic physical, psychological, and social changes because of the starvation. In most cases, these changes persisted during the rehabilitation phase.
What were some of these changes? First, there was a dramatic increase in the preoccupation with food. Concentration on usual activities became increasingly, more difficult due to persistent thoughts of food and eating. Food became the principal topic of conversation, reading and dreams. For some the fascination became so great, they actually changed vocations: three became chefs, and one went into agriculture. Essentially, the results produced an abstinence-induced addiction.
Attempts to handle addictive behavior with self-control are doomed to failure. True, one may actually give up the behavior; however the character problems remain. The problems are magnified because we focus on a physical desire (being thin) as opposed to setting our minds on Christ.
These principles hold true whether the addiction is to food, chemicals, sex, or any other object man might deify. There is a heavy price to pay for abstinence. Abstinence alerts and shuts down every physical, psychological, and spiritual function. Abstinence, instead of taking the mind off the addiction, focuses and concentrates on it. If abstinence fails, what succeeds? We are not ready yet for the answer. One must get to the root of the problem first.
The principle critical to understanding addiction is what I call insatiability. Actual this is a physical warning experienced through our spirits warning us of impending danger. Danger in the sense that we are turning our attention from God to the material. Because the principle is most clearly seen in biblical passages when dealing with eating disorders we will use this area as an example. However, like the other principles discussed this one holds true of any type of addiction, or addictive thinking. In the opening passages of Genesis we find the roots of addictive thinking and the subsequent maladies. The Lord warns Adam and Eve not to partake of the fruit of two specific trees. But the woman looked at the tree “saw that it was to be desired, that it was a delight to the eyes and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise.” These are the traits of addictiveness and its appeal. The sin was exalting one to the level of God or idolatry, which is the root difficulty with addictiveness. In disciplining Eve the Lord tells her that part of that discipline will be a desire or taking into account the intense form of the Hebrew word being used “a violent craving for” her husband. Thus very early the physical experience intense craving is introduced as a consequence of idolatry. In Lev. 26:26 the Lord again reiterates the consequences of idolatry when He says, “if you walk contrary to my ways, that is have other gods before me then as discipline “when I break your staff of bread, ten women shall bake your bread in one oven, and shall deliver your bread again by weight and you shall eat, and not be satisfied. Idolatry carries with it then this intense craving which cannot be satisfied or put another way one loses the ability to enjoy what God has given. In describing the sensation of intense craving one client put it, “I eat until I feel like I am going to burst, and I still feel famished.” Food has become to this person the object of attention. The Lord is displaced. The consequences for this idolatry is insatiability. This insatiability is discussed several times in scripture. Hosea the prophet warns that the consequences of rebellion and idolatry shall be, “they shall eat, but not be satisfied.” The prophet Micah reaffirms the same principle saying, “you shall eat, but not be satisfied, and there shall be hunger in your inward parts.”
Solomon has much to say about the problem and sheds further light on the source of insatiability. In Ecc 2:24 Solomon is telling the godly person “there is nothing better for a man than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also is from the hand of God.” For apart from Him who can eat and have enjoyment? So the source of pleasure is God and is given as a reward. It’s taken from him who turns to other gods. Solomon reaffirms this in the next chapter when he says “that it is God’s gift to man that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in his toil….in fact he says God has made it so in order that men should fear before him” Solomon then turns his attention to the insatiability aspect in chapter 6 and says…This is an evil which have seen under the sun land it lies heavy upon men. A man to whom God gives wealth, possessions land honor so that he lacks nothing of all that he desires yet God does not give him power to enjoy them. Why does God take the pleasure…because of idolatry. Another passage which reflects on this phenomenon is addressed in Haggai: 6. An appalling situation has occurred the people have forsaken God and are only interested in their own pleasures. Haggai tells them, Is it time for you to dwell in your paneled houses while this house—that is God’s house lies in ruins? Now therefore thus says the Lord of hosts consider how you have fared. You have sown much and harvested little: you eat but you never have enough, you drink but never have your fill…”What these passages are saying is that the power to enjoy food is a gift from God- and it is withheld when a person focuses their attention on something other than God. What we have been talking about is the driving force behind addictions where and when that force originated and how we give it ruling power in our lives. It accounts for why the cocaine addict never gets enough of his drug and why he must keep coming back for more. It reminds us of the fatal attractions in our relationships and why we continually return to another person or drugs, alcohol, or sex desperate for assurance and affection and find no satisfaction When one turns away from the giver of pleasure then fulfillment is lost. Once lost we are doomed to an eternal struggle for satisfaction….which never comes. These principles hold true whether the addiction is to food, chemicals, sex, or any other object man might deify.

Read Full Post »

A Word to the Wise

12-5-2019 – A Word to the Wise – Satan’s lies

Very early in life usually about two or three Satan begins to plant seeds in the hearts of children which then bear fruit throughout their life. They are very simple ideas based on the actions or behaviors of others. Examples of seeds might be ones parents are not dependable based on failures to keep promises.
Perhaps a father promises to take his child to the show. The child waits all day for his father to come home and fulfill his promise. Something happens at work and he gets off late. He comes home and has forgotten his promise the child has not forgotten and Satan merely says to the inner child “I told you he could not be trusted.” All of these seeds have simple beginnings yet Satan carefully nourishes them with events in the child’s life that reinforces the original lesson.

Jesus addresses this in His parable the Wheat and the Tares. “Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared. “The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’ 28” ‘An enemy did this,’ he replied. “The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’ “‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’ ”
One may glean from this passage important direction for dealing with Satan’s lies.
Awareness of the lies is essential they must be gathered up and marked for destruction. However, at this point in a child’s life they are not rooted out because if they are then the good plants can be destroyed as well. Now how is this possible how can the good be intertwined with the lie in such a manner that the good is at risk? Simply, the parent does many other good things, keeps many other promise. Yet this broken promise is the emphases by the evil one. However, to remove the broken promises at this early age threatens the well-kept promises.

Often the father may not even remember the. However, knowing the adversaries tactic what will probably happen is the child will be prompted to remind the father. The father will justify, explain, deny the promise and the situation has now been worsened in the child’s spirit. The father could simply admit to his failure ask for forgiveness and the child would probably forgive. But the problem is at this stage the child will not forget. Satan will not allow that to be forgotten.
The wise father should make a record of his failures and later on in life when the child is now a father himself sit down with the child and show him the his failures which would indicate to the child that those promises and failures were important to the father. Now the seeds could be completely removed, and forgiveness, mercy and gratitude replacing bitterness and failure.
How does the Lord deal with the adversaries lies ? When Satan lied to God and told him Job would fail the only thing God said was prove it!

Read Full Post »

A Word to the Wise

12-4-2019 – A Word to the Wise – THE ACQUISTION OF MERCY: Why and How

Patience is obtained through endurance of unpleasant situations or circumstances. How often I hear, “I will not ever pray for the Lord to teach me patience again.” Usually this follows a very trying experience. The person is unwilling to undergo the character training necessary to produce the character quality of patience. Acquiring and using mercy is no different

The character quality of Mercy is obtained by experiencing significant pain; emotional, mental, physical, or spiritual. Acquiring mercy is very painful. Not long ago I was explaining to a client the painful process necessary if one is to develop the trait. The individual let me know quite bluntly they had no desire to acquire mercy they would do just fine without it. How unfortunate. It reminds me of the rich young ruler who came to Jesus wanting to be a disciple. Once learning the cost he decided to choose a different path.

So it is with Mercy. Perhaps we should offer a glimmer of insight into the benefits of mercifulness. Jesus, in the Sermon on the Mount tells us that the one who is merciful will obtain mercy.

How is this gift utilized? How does one go through the process? First one observes one hurting. The source of the pain may be physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual. Second, the one with the gift of Mercy places themselves in contact with the person hurting. Three, the Mercy takes the pain off the other person. Four, there is an awareness on the part of the Mercy that a transfer of pain has occurred and that they are now hurting. Fifth, the Mercy then goes through the process of giving up the pain to the Lord. Sixth, deep fatigue sets in. Seventh, is the recovery period.

These different stages are necessary for the Mercy if they are to successfully reduce suffering on a regular basis. Each stage requires training brought about painful experiences, and an unselfish willingness to take another’s pain. Now why would anyone want to go through all of this pain? Is it worth it? God’s Word tells us that this is exactly what Jesus did for us leaving us an example that we are to follow.
What difficulty lessens or even blunts the gift of Mercy? In my experience the one who has the potential frequently is so obsessed with sensing their own pain they are unable to experience other trauma.

Who are those most apt to develop the skills necessary to help others? First of all those who have been given the gift of Mercy which represents about 30 % of the general population. Second born children, are another group representing a large segment of society who tend to possess the skills necessary to exercise this trait. A combination of the two, one possessing the gift of Mercy and second born individuals makes the ability very intense.
Now one has to decide if they are courageous enough and willing to make themselves available to the hurting of the world.

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »