A Word to the Wise

1-16-2020 – A Word to the Wise – Once again what does a parent teach a child about bullies?

What does a parent teach a child about self defense? What of living at peace with all men? What of not allowing yourself to be bullied? Young parents especially, and older ones as well face the dilemma because they must teach a child to prepare them for adulthood what is the right thing to teach.

Knowing a child’s gift more easily determines the direction. However let’s begin as if that knowledge is not available.

The individual starts out totally defensiveness dependant on others for protection. So it is in the development of this attribute. The child must first learn to respect others, submissiveness, and obedience, gentleness, kindness, and patience. This is the beginning, the foundation. If the foundation is not correct then the building will not survive.

The child learns to be at peace with all men whatever the circumstance. Actually, they are compelled by dependence to learn peace at this stage. During this growing period they learn to take care and protect those younger and weaker. These skill are acquired as the care for siblings, and others they come in contact.

During this weak period they learn endurance in the face of adversity. They acquire a desire for survival skills and self-protection.

Jesus taught the importance of peace with all men, and placing the other person first, or self-sacrifice. This means acquiring the skill of not defending or justifying our behavior. It is clear cut we either think or act in a righteous manner, or we correct those qualities which do not meet the mark of good conduct.

Once these skill are ingrained in the child then comes the lessons and skills to defend and protect the helpless, weak and downtrodden. At every step character training is important one quality builds on another.

What do you teach assuming through exercise and training the others qualities are growing? First and foremost one must teach fearlessness in the face of the enemy. If the child has already been introduced to the Lord then he is taught to lean on the Lord for wisdom in dealing with such matters.

Thus the decision to stand and fight is backed up by a spirit of righteousness, reinforced by fearlessness in the face of overwhelming odds. If one decides to fight they must understanding that there is no backing down or running away or quitting.
Now we understand the reason for the development of the other character qualities. One exercises all of the other opinions to reconcile the disturbance because once he decides to stand then there can be no retreat.

The child must be prepared to mentally and emotionally deal with defeat with the understanding that one battle does not make a war.

Once the decisions is in place then tactics become all important. The goal is to strike fear in the heart of the enemy. Nothing less can be accepted. The enemy must fear you and your God.

However, you must observe the laws of the land, and accept the consequences of your behavior. Understand the law. Defense of ones self is acceptable. There is a difference between simple assault and aggravated assault.

Serious injury to another person unless ones life is in danger is not acceptable. Killing another person should not even be considered unless one is under authority and obligation to do so. Given the choice one never seeks to kill the key word here is given the choice.

One never choices to go to those places given to disturbances, bars, bad neighborhoods’, risky friends, ect. One must not put oneself in the way physical danger, it is not living peaceably.


A Word to the Wise

1-9-2020 – A Word to the Wise – THE LORD’S PROTECTION
I suppose all of us have our favorite passages that brings us peace. The following passages has been my own. I cannot even start to number the many people who have sought to harm me, physically, emotionally, spiritually. Enemies who wanted to utterly destroy me. But even as this passages says they have either been confounded, or lay in graves not to be found. Several years ago they numbered over 800, I no longer keep count. But it amazes me how my God has protected me all of these years. Even as a child almost from birth, while in the military, as a police officer, numerous times, as a counselor who testified against the cruel, and abusive, no not even one who warred against me, not even one. The Lord my protector and God, thee I praise, and give glory. Amen.
“You are my servant,
I have chosen you and not cast you off”;
fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Behold, all who are incensed against you
shall be put to shame and confounded;
those who strive against you
shall be as nothing and shall perish.
You shall seek those who contend with you,
but you shall not find them;
those who war against you
shall be as nothing at all.
For I, the LORD your God,
hold your right hand;
it is I who say to you, “Fear not,
I am the one who helps you.” ESV

You should trust Him as well!

A Word to the Wise

1-8-2020 – A Word to the Wise – Have your ever felt so loved that it took your breath away?
To be loved by the Lord, that is truly breathless. It is only on occasion the feelings wash over you. I know how often we long to have that moment by moment. Yet it may not be. The awareness may be with us or perhaps a passing remembrance. Yet at other times it is such an intense experience. Sorry, but our emotions just are not able to experience it but in short burst.
But you see it is just those moments that make up for all of the hectic times in our life. Times when we must deal with the mundane things of the world, or struggle with life’s circumstance, or on occasion temptation.
As one reads John 13-16 one may see this up and down movement in Jesus’s emotions. On the one hand leaving the disciples whom He loved, the other trying to comfort and warn them of the coming tragedy. At the same time one may see the disciples struggling with the fearful future, then setting it aside to ask for things for themselves, and then at the most precarious moment, sleep.
So it is with our own daily struggles. One moment we seek the Master’s presence, the next concern about worldly things. Yet it must be remembered what those few intimate moment with the Master are like for we need them to meet the struggles of the day.
Is that not how it is for you?

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.

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.

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.

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.