Archive for May, 2016

A Prayer on my 70th Birthday

May 24, 2016

“Lord, when I was young, I never thought I would get to be this old.  Thank you for 70 years of life, for the fun, the enjoyment, the loves, and even the hard times that taught me so much.  I know I haven’t as far to go as I have already been, but help me live these remaining years well.  Help me pass along love, wisdom, encouragement and the lessons I’ve learned.  Help me nurture and mentor the young, and give the wandering and wondering some love and something to hang onto.  Help me share with them the good things you’ve given me and taught me, especially the joy and peace of a life spent in your Presence, listening to you and following where you lead.

I know I haven’t all the strengths of the young, but let me dwell on what I can do, not what I can’t.  As the number of my skills diminish, let me develop those that belong to the elderly.  Let me be a good listener, a loving encourager, a teacher of whatever arts I’ve developed, and a sensitive, appreciative friend of all I come in contact with.

Let me be a sweet senior, not a cross, fault-finding sour old person.  Let me look for the good in every person, every situation and every day.  Let me, as much as possible, forget about my aches and pains and problems.  Let my desire to share my complaints be overcome by the need to share my blessings.

Draw me closer to yourself Lord, that when I see you face to face, I find joy in finally meeting the One I’ve talked with for so many years.  I don’t want to flee from your majesty because I fear the power of the great stranger.

Finally, help me live so that when you watch me, it makes you smile.

Amen.”

Who is a Fool?

May 23, 2016

The definition of a fool is one who acts unwisely or is silly.  However, the biblical definition of a fool is one who refuses to believe despite all the evidence.  God has left plenty of evidence for Himself in His creation.  One can’t look at the intricacy and complexity of life and not think there is a design to it.  Well, that is, some do look and refuse to believe there is any design.  Some insist this is all an accident.  But the statistical chance of all we see being the result of a series of accidents is absolutely impossible.  The possibility of all these random things happening together is about as likely as putting all the parts of a watch into a clothes dryer, running it for a million years and seeing even the beginnings of a watch come together.  Philosophy says design requires a designer, and looking at the human body, it certainly speaks of design.

If one can’t come to belief through studying creation, how can one explain Jesus?  There are a number of accounts of Jesus’ life that tell of miraculous healings, and raising of the dead.  He, Himself, was raised from the dead and seen by hundreds, many of whom testified to what they saw at the risk of their own lives.  Evidence, if looked at carefully, leads one to a verdict.  Refusing to look at the evidence at all would be the biblical definition of foolishness.  “The fool says in his heart ‘there is no God.”  Psalm 14:1.

Writer’s Block

May 20, 2016

Have you ever stared at the computer screen and couldn’t think of a thing to say.  I had such an experience today.  I looked at a news source, and half the headlines were over the gender debate.  For thousands of years, somewhere between 1 in 2000 and 1 in 4000 people have been born with indeterminate sexuality.  Basically a birth defect, though some won’t call it that.  Such people lived the life of the gender they most resembled, and if they were infertile, such was the sad lot of their life.  Many people live with disabilities of one sort or another.  Now, it has become almost the law of the land that the gender we most resemble isn’t necessarily the gender we are,and  that we are somehow aware of the gender we really are, and that isn’t necessarily the gender of our DNA, and in fact, the gender we really are can change over time.  We may also be men who look like women and prefer women, or men who  look like men, who prefer men, and on and on and on.  What obviously is, isn’t, and what obviously isn’t, is.  And I’m just speechless, with writer’s block on the topic.

Change Your Thoughts and Change Your Life

May 17, 2016

We have often heard it said that we are our own worst enemy.  And how many of us limit ourselves through fear, negativity, and the like.  It has been said:  “What would you be doing if you didn’t know how old you are?”  It could also be said:  “What would you be doing if you had a college degree, or what would you be doing if you knew you had a high IQ, or what would you be doing if you knew you couldn’t fail?”

There’s nothing wrong with having a realistic appraisal of our abilities–for instance, I’m not going to be an Olympic sprinter at 70 years old, or lift 200 lbs, or something which is actually impossible to do.  But a lot of things might be written off when we actually could accomplish them.  If we weren’t afraid to fail, if we weren’t afraid of consequences, if we didn’t think less of our abilities than we should, we might do a whole lot more than we ever thought possible.

A thought a lot of people never take into consideration is “What could I accomplish if I knew I could count on God to help me?”  We just never consider that possibility.  If we are hoping to do a good thing–something that makes life better for others or adds some beauty or goodness to the world, wouldn’t that thing please God?  If so, why not ask God’s help and then give it our best?  We might be astounded at where that beginning effort takes us.  It might not only be a successful effort, but we might also learn a whole lot more about the goodness of God.

Thoughts Come First

May 17, 2016

I have heard people ask “How can I be a better person?”  or “How can I stop being so critical?”, or “How can I stop being so negative?”   The key to better actions or better speech is a change of thoughts.  Everything we do is first contemplated in the mind.  Everything we say comes out of thoughts that have been going on first.  Speech is the outpouring of thought.  If I want to speak more positively, or graciously, I have to start thinking that way.  I have to practice thinking more charitably about others, and more positively about situations.  Its the hardest thing to do to discipline the mind.  But it can be done.  I can learn to stop periodically during the day and ask myself what I have been thinking about, and how I have been thinking.  I can purposely think about possible positive solutions to things, a positive light to put on situations, and a charitable way to look at people.  I can take time each day to devise ways to help people, solutions to problems, and ways to encourage people.  Filling my mind with thoughts such as these will soon result in positive actions and positive conversations.

What is Truth?

May 17, 2016

I have heard people say things such as “That may be true for you but not for me;”  or “truth is relative” or “nothing is true all the time.”  All these are logically impossible.  Truth by definition is a fact that exists all the time.  Some things exist only under certain conditions i.e., ice, but the truth statement would contain the conditions.  Truth is truth.  A statement of fact cannot be true for me but not for you.  A statement of fact is not relative.  If the fact is conditional, the conditions are included in the statement.  I can’t say “The sun is shining today” and you say “not for me it isn’t.”  This is logically impossible.  There is no such thing as “my truth” and “your truth”.  Truth is.

Am I Really a Sinner?

May 5, 2016

Most people think they are pretty good people, and most people think they are better than the rest of the world.  Most people think they get into heaven by being good, and most people think God grades on the curve.  They don’t give much thought to the idea they may be sinners.  If they could define sinner at all, it would be the really bad people who do violence to others.  Lies and stealing are kind of justified by “they have more than I do” or “there is no such thing as absolute truth”.

Jesus, however, taught something different.  Most people, if they have any ideas about him at all, think of Jesus as the “Love Your Neighbor” and “Do not judge” guy.  However, He said the greatest commandment is “Love the Lord your God with your whole heart, whole mind, whole soul and whole strength.”  Who does that?  No one.  Guess if being a sinner means breaking God’s commandment, we are all sinners.  Some people might try to criticize God for commanding our love, but think of it this way–He is responsible for our very existence.  We owe Him–big time!

What do we do about this debt we can’t pay and this love we owe and don’t give?  There is a law of justice, known for all eternity by the spirit world.  Those who don’t love or even acknowledge their creator don’t deserve to live.  Now how do we feel when someone guilty “walks”.  We feel justice was cheated.  But if God lets us go on for eternity in lovelessness toward Him, something is wrong.  Justice isn’t being served here.  But God provided a way to satisfy justice before all the powers of Heaven and Hell, yet save us.  He became a man Himself and suffered death in our place.  That is the story of Jesus first visit to Earth.  He’s coming again, but that is to set things right with those who continue to rebel after all He has done to save them, and to defeat the evil spiritual world ruled by Satan.

Not Feeling My Faith

May 3, 2016

Someone once told me they didn’t feel anything.  They believed in God and wanted to please God, but felt no love for God or the things of God.  There were no warm feelings or “religious feelings”.    Here was my answer.

Our culture almost worships feelings. But feelings are difficult to
conjure up. We have to act on our will. I once saw a little illustration
about this. It was a train on a track. The track was labeled “facts”, and
described as facts about who Jesus is, what He did for us, what He said
etc. The engine of the train was labeled “will”. That is our will to honor,
love and follow Jesus. The cars were labeled “fruit cars”, and described as
the fruit that grows in the life of a follower of Jesus. Then the caboose
was labeled “feelings” and described as “nice, but not necessary.”

Did you know that many of the great Christians of history struggled with
depression, emptiness and doubt. Just as Jesus wants us to love Him for
Himself and not the gifts he can provide, He wants us to love Him for who
he is, not because you have warm and loving feelings that feel good.
Mother Teresa is often called the saint of the 20th century, because of
the beautiful and loving things she did. She said many profound and
wonderful things. But she struggled with depression, and times when she
felt empty as though God had left her alone. I believe it was a time of
testing for her. Its easy to follow when it feels good, harder when it
feels empty or sad. So empty, “blah” feelings are no indication of anything
except you will be tested by those times. Those who are faithful in the
hard times are giving a gift all the more valuable because it wasn’t easy
to give.

Ask someone who has been married a long time if they continued to feel the
excitement of being in love over years and years. Of course not, but true
love is faithful during good and bad times, high and low times.

The Blahs

May 3, 2016

For everyone who is having the “blahs” in their walk with God, I’ve been where you’ve been. If you’re just tired of reading the bible, church, and praying, you are being tempted to doubt God and give up. Until your eyes are open and you realize how much God has done for you, how much you owe Him, and how much He loves you, will you realize how awesome He is. You are listening to the voices of temptation–temptation to doubt, temptation to be lazy, temptation to be complacent, temptation to enjoy sin, and so on.  At any rate, when you are ready to hear Him, He’ll reveal Himself to you. Otherwise, why should He? Imagine your doubts were about you by someone you really love. He is bored with you, has no feelings for you, doesn’t want to be forced to care about you, doubts your goodness and your love. Meanwhile, you love him, and have done everything possible to show it.