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A Word to the Wise

7-6-2021 – A Word to the Wise – Should drugs be legalized? Sodom legalized sodomy and look at what happened.

A Word to the Wise

7-6-2021 – A Word to the Wise – On Forgiveness

I think the little book the Hiding Place, and the concentration camp experience provides an example by which one may compare their circumstance and determine how easy or hard forgiveness becomes. For my own self, There is a tiny book “Through the valley of the Kwai,” page 179 which puts true forgiveness in perspective. My copy is worn thin. For those who do not read it was made a movie,( not as moving), To End All Wars. Try it see if the need for bitterness is really necessary.

A Word to the Wise

6-28-2021 – A Word to the Wise – FORGIVENESS

How is it that the Lord is able to forgive our sins? For most of us the burden of the past, even the sins of the here and now is a heavy burden. When I think of my own sins of the past and yes even those before me now I cringe at how the Lord sees them.

Yet, in fact, if one takes JOHN literally, he forgives our sins even as we sin. How can that be?

It is really very simple. To be in the Lord’s presence one must be sinless. So our high priest cleanses us constantly from all sin. Thus we constantly find ourselves being fitted with white line robes.

There are some exceptions. If we say we have no sin, then our sin is upon our own heads. If we constantly walk in sin without regret or repentance, our sin is unforgiven. If we refuse to forgive the sins of others, our transgressions remain unforgiven.

You see the Lord knows we cannot bear our sins. No matter how we excuse or trample ourselves into the ground the truth stands. Our task is to experience forgiveness and rejoice in its removal. Have you?

A Word to the Wise

6-4-2021 – A Word to the Wise – Sometimes we need to be reminded of some important scriptures that are put into our language and experiences. Lets try:

If you fully obey all of these commandments of the Lord your God,

These are the blessings that will come upon you:

Blessings in the city,

the field;

children,

Food

Work

Blessings when you come in,

Blessings when you go out.

The Lord will defeat your enemies before you;

They will march out together against you but scatter before you in seven directions!

You will prosper everything you do

He will change you into a holy person dedicated to himself;

If you will only obey him and walk in his ways.

All shall see that you belong to the Lord, and they will stand in awe.

He will open to you his wonderful treasury from the heavens,

He will bless everything you do;

You shall lend, but not borrow.

If you will only listen and obey the commandments of the Lord your God he will make you the head and not the tail, and you shall always have the upper hand.

But each of these blessings depends on your not turning aside

You must never worship other gods alcohol, drugs, sex, food or material things

“If you won’t listen to the Lord your God and won’t obey these laws then all of these curses shall come upon you:

Curses in the city,

Curses in the fields,

Curses on your food

curse of barren wombs,

Curses upon your work

Curses when you come in,

Curses when you go out.

“For the Lord himself will send his personal curse upon you.

You will be confused and a failure in everything you do,

He will send disease

He will send tuberculosis, fever, infections, plague, and war

Devastations shall pursue you.

“The heavens above you will be as unyielding as bronze,

The earth beneath will be as iron.

The land will become as dry as dust

The Lord will cause you to be defeated by your enemies.

You will march out to battle gloriously, but flee before your enemies in utter confusion;

He will send upon you boils,

Tumors, scurvy, Itch,

For none of which will there be a remedy.

He will send madness, blindness, fear, and panic.

You shall grope in the bright sunlight just as the blind man gropes in darkness.

You shall not prosper in anything you do;

You will be oppressed and robbed continually, and nothing will save you.

Someone else will marry your fiancée;

Someone else will live in the house you build;

Someone else will eat your food

And there will be no one to protect you.

You will watch as your sons and daughters are consumed by addictions.

Your heart will break with longing for them, but you will not be able to help them.

You will always be oppressed and crushed.

You will go mad because of all the tragedy.

The Lord will cover you with boils from head to foot.

You will become an object of horror, a proverb and a byword

You will work much but reap little,

Your sons and daughters will be snatched away from you as slaves.

All these curses shall pursue and overtake you until you are destroyed

All because you refuse to listen to the Lord your God

You will become slaves to your addictions because of your failure to praise God for all that he has given you.

The Lord will send your enemies against you, and you will be hungry, thirsty, naked, and in want of everything. A yoke of iron shall be placed around your neck until you are destroyed!

A Word to the Wise

5-20-2021 – A Word to the Wise – RAISING THE DEAD AT NAIN Luke 7:11 ff

Luke the physician provides for the reader close attention to the emotional state of Jesus, as well of those he healed or cared for especially women. Luke 7:1 calls us to pay special attention to Jesus’ compassion for a widow. A status his own mother held.

Purposely he goes to a city called Nain this was his outing for the day. I strongly suspect that he knew where he was going, why he was going, and that the arrival time was crucial. The disciples were clueless.

So leaving Capernaum going some six miles southwest Jesus hastens his pace. He has an appointment and must not be late. It is probably about ten in the morning as he nears his destination. A great crowd and his disciples follow him they are not privy to the destination or even the purpose.

Leaving the city of Nain about the same time Jesus is approaching is a woman clothed in mourning, followed also by a great crowd. She leads a procession with the lifeless body of her son. This is the second time she treads this path. The first was with the death of her husband, she is a widow. But now, even worse with the death of her only child, her son, she is alone.

She has no one to care for her. The future looks bleak. Many widows of this period had to beg just to survive. Work for women as we know it was not part of this society.

Jesus stops the processional along with the crowd following him and the crowd coming towards him from the city. Everyone knew there was nothing Jesus would be able to do in this circumstance. The boy was dead. In fact, there is no expectation on the part of either crowd that Jesus could do anything but provide comfort. The only sound is the widow weeping.

With compassion, Jesus says “do not weep,” Has he ever said that to you?

Touching the bier he speaks those famous words “Young man, get up! The dead son sits up and Jesus gives him back to his mother.

The people were aghast. We are in the presence of another Elijah, or Elisha. They too are surprised by joy for this act was not expected, nor even a possibility.

The result is that the incident spread like wildfire for hundreds of square miles.

This simple act of compassion has been heralded throughout the whole world for 2000 years. I wonder if our family, friends, or neighbors have even the slightest awareness of the miracles the Lord has performed for each of us.

I suspect that this is missing in our homes, churches, and communities. Testimonies about just what God has done for us.

If you were ever to pick up my bible and turn to page 912 (Psalm 136) you would find a list of 15 impossible acts the Lord performed on my behalf. All of us need this list for our friends, loved ones, even our enemies to see and hear about. Do you have such a list?

A Word to the Wise

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!

A Word to the Wise

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.

A Word to the Wise

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?

A Word to the Wise

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?

A Word to the Wise

3-29-2021 – A Word to the Wise – UNDERSTANDING THE PART COMPASSION PLAYS USING THE GIFTS.

Three of the gifts are talented in working with others in the healing process. Each takes a different approach with different results.

The Mercy deals primarily with pain; emotional or physical. Essentially they sit with the person listen to them maybe sys things to calm when necessary. It is a very slow process that should not be rushed.

The expected effects on the person are relief from anxiety which lessens the pain.

Now, the part often missed and neglected is the effects on the Mercy.

When Mercy takes the pain off of another they are taking it onto themselves. They now carry the pain that was the other person.

Jesus refers to the cost in one of his healing situations.

A certain woman, who had a discharge of blood for twelve years, 26 and had suffered many things by many physicians and had spent all that she had, and was no better, but rather grew worse, 27 having heard the things concerning Jesus, came up behind him in the crowd, and touched his clothes. 28 For she said, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be made well.” 29 Immediately the flow of her blood was dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction.

30 Immediately Jesus, perceiving in himself that the power had gone out from him, turned around in the crowd, and asked, “Who touched my clothes?”

31 His disciples said to him, “You see the multitude pressing against you, and you say, ‘Who touched me?’”

32 He looked around to see her who had done this thing. 33 But the woman, fearing and trembling, knowing what had been done to her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth.

34 He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be cured of your disease.”

(WEB)

Two very important details; first the Mercy must have the authority to act. With the Gifts, one never acts without authority because the purpose is to give the Lord, not ourselves, the praise.

Then notice Jesus says; which is easier, to tell the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven; ’or to say, ‘Arise, and take up your bed, and walk?

This indicates that it cost to person to heal another.

So what does it cost the Mercy? The effect of pain on us is stress. Stress is emotionally difficult. This is the problem often the Mercy will go for years carrying the burdens of others until they break down. So what is necessary is to learn to give up the pain quickly after absorbing it. We will address how in a moment. For now, let’s label this as being compassionate.

The second Gift that works with emotional or physical pain is the Exhorter. Like Mercy, the Exhorter works one on one more effectively. However, where Mercy actually lifts the burdened off individuals the Exhorter has the individual verbalize the problems and reasons with the person about why they are suffering and what needs to be done to deal with the problem. So to contrast these two Gifts one is silent yet lifts the burden onto themselves while the other reason addresses root problems in an effort to cause the person to address the problem and utilize the solution.

8 Immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, said to them, “Why do you reason these things in your hearts? 9 Which is easier, to tell the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven;’ or to say, ‘Arise, and take up your bed, and walk?’ 10 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the paralytic— 11 “I tell you, arise, take up your mat, and go to your house.” (WEB)

This intercession cost the Exhorter. What? Why? It takes time effort, learning, and prayer to deal with others.

So like the Mercy, if it is not released it will burn out the Exhorter.

The third Gift that works with the emotions and the body is the Prophet. This gift detects and challenges sin in the life of another person and confronts the individual. This is a terrific risk to the Prophet. They experience rejection at every turn. They have few friends. It cost them dearly. It cost Jesus his life.

Like the other two gifts, the Prophet experiences long-term problems by exercising their gift. What does it cost? Physical, emotional, spiritual energy. The result is always fatigue and the energy has to be restored. How?

Step one, the situation in each of these instances has to be given to the Lord. By telling the Lord who the person is, what the problem is, and asking him to take it into his hands.

Moreover, an inquiry has to be made about the root problem and authority for dealing with the person.

Step two, the person has to exercise compassion on themselves. So what does that mean?

There are several ways one receives compassion for themselves, some good, some bad.

The negative ways we comfort ourselves maybe addictive type activities, drugs, alcohol, sex, money, games whatever we comfort ourselves with. These distract us from the burdens but do not relieve them.

Which ones does the Lord approve of us and in fact comforts our spirits and soothes our emotions?

Music is one. We are instructed in this in I Samuel 16.

Now Yahweh’s Spirit departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from Yahweh troubled him. 15 Saul’s servants said to him, “See now, an evil spirit from God troubles you. 16 Let our lord now command your servants who are in front of you to seek out a man who is a skillful player on the harp. Then when the evil spirit from God is on you, he will play with his hand, and you will be well.” (WEB)

In our time a suggestion that seems to bring the most comfort is music from the older hymns song without instrumental background with some exceptions. Definitely not music with a backbeat.

The second form of spiritual comfort which soothes the spirit is certain passages from scripture. Many from Psalms, the gospels, and Paul’s writings, and godly books.

These tend to be effective with the three gifts: Mercy, Server, and Prophet.

o compassion is offered by these three gifts in different terms but addressing the emotions and the soul.

The other four gifts Giver, Server, Organizer, Teacher offer compassion in another manner. These are nonemotional gifts so compassion is offered in a physical or intellectual manner.

So the Server observes a person under great stress. The Server and Giver look for physical ways to relieve the stress and be compassionate. The Server will look for ways to physically relieve the person by doing chores or helping in a physical manner. Comforting self also by a physical means, making, building, painting, etc.

The Giver relieves stress financially and for the largest part of society financial problems seem to be a source of many difficulties. So giving becomes a chief way of expressing compassion. Self-comfort is achieved through material things.

The organizer in contrast takes a complex problem being experience breaks it down into achievable parts to relieve stress. Self-comfort is achieved through seeing a project through to closure. As well as with other physical activities.

Finally, the teacher projects compassion through intellectual means. Teaching another patiently how to do a task or learn intellectually how to deal with a problem. Self-comfort generally comes in the form of reading.

What is important here is giving compassion and receiving compassion, either by self, from others, or by one’s relationship with the Lord. If the person is going to practice their Gift for the betterment of others they must learn that there is a price to be paid, learn how to give it to the Lord, and find comfort for themselves.