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Fear or Friend – Psalm 46:1–3

May 4, 2020

“God is our refuge and strength,
a very sufficient help in troubles.
Therefore we will not fear though the earth change,
and though the mountains totter into the midst of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam,
though mountains shake with its surging water.”

May I be bold enough to add, “though a virus infects throughout the earth, and though people fall, though economies totter, though our healthcare system shakes”.

We are not a people accustomed to uncertainty.  We are accustomed to regular returns, predictable profits, and a pill for every malady. We are accustomed to the refuge of a regular wage and the strong towers of a robust hospital.

Where does the anxiety of this time come from?  Why do we hear of despair from COVID’s destruction?

The earth has changed, and our response has been an innate cry for help in these time of trouble. That cry has been direcred largely toward the government.  The government, who according to the news, should possess all the resources for sufficient help.

Yet, this fact reveals the greatest deficiency of our modern world.  Society’s cry reveals it’s misplaced trust for refuge and strength.  Our greatest help in times of trouble is never the institutions of man nor the strength of one’s net worth.  

COVID is a merely another revelation of our greatest vulnerability.  We are a society in a fallen world, full of sinful people without sufficient help against the troubles of coming eternity.

Therefore, COVID is a blessing.  Any crisis that awakens a misplaced cry, serves the helpless by informing them of a trust that has drifted from the true source of strength and refuge to an illusion.

Uncertainty is a friend.  A friend does not allow loved ones to meander into destruction with insufficient refuge.  This current uncertainty can be that friend if we allow it to reveal were we have placed out trust.
https://ref.ly/Ps46.1-3 via the Logos Bible Android app.

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Spiritual Competition

April 26, 2020

If you are still sheltering in place as I am, here is the video for a sermon I gave on spiritual competition and the analogy to physical competition.  Maybe, it will make it feel more like a Sunday.

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QUOTE (Frederick Buechner)

April 21, 2020

“But to preach the Gospel is not just to tell the truth but to tell the truth in love,and to tell the truth in love means to tell it with concern not only for the truth that is being told but with concern also for the people it is being told to.”

 ~ Frederick Buechner, “Telling the Truth”

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Leadership for the Right Purpose – Proverbs 28:11

April 12, 2020

“A man of wealth is wise in his own eyes,
but the intelligent poor sees through him”


Position sways responses.

I learned this early in my career as I was in a contracted regulatory role.  I was the final gatekeeper for those who wanted approval for their developments. As a result of my position, I regularly had my ego stroked.  One would have concluded by the praise that I was a sage.  I was not.

I have done this with clients throughout my career. I need a client’s business so I moderate how I interact with them.  I try hard not to manipulate but I equally try to stay within a realm of professional client development. This means that I work to assuage unpleasantness in favor of the client’s position.  I have worked for clients who are not very good at their job.  I would never tell them they are inadequate.  It is not my job to change the image that they have of themselves.

I am now President of the company where I have worked for over 20 years.  It is strange to witness the change in behavior as one ascends the corporate ladder.  People treat you differently.  U have learned that just because no one disagrees with you, doesn’t mean they’re in agreement.  It is easy to get an inflated image of oneself.  It is easy to misinterprete modulated responses for admiration.

One’s position sways how people  react to you.

Therefore, those in leadership, positions of authority, have to fight becoming wise in their own eyes. Here are some suggestions for that fight:

  • There are few truly brilliant people in this world.  Just assume you are not, no matter what people say.  Remember, in comparison to God, you an imbecile.
  • Share your mistakes, concerns, and uncertainties.  Allow people, under your authority, to know that you don’t have it all figured out and that you need their help.  Be confident enough to allow your true level of wisdom to be seen. Be humble so that you won’t have to be humbled.
  • If you feel like responses are too restrained, then create safe “devil’s advocate” opportunities for sharing opinions without them having to be in direct contradiction to your own.  It is hard to stand up to authority, even in the safest of places, so make it easier.
  • Keep your opinions to yourself.  Others will have the tendency to reflect your opinions back to you.  We all like giving the “right” answer.  Ask for opinions before you share your own.
  • Delegate problem solving.  Allow space for other’s ideas and allow the idea to remain theirs.  Work with your problem solvers to get the idea in a form that you can agree with, but go the long route to make sure it is still their idea. Do not take it over.  You don’t have to own everything.  Treat others as you would want to be treated, and that includes other people’s ideas and work.
  • Titles are intoxicating.  Remember that you are in leadership to serve, not to be served.  If you are pursuing leadership for the perks and how you think the position will make you feel, then you are pursuing it for the wrong reasons.  You are in danger of becoming wise in your own eyes.  So, downplay your title.  Remember that all things are a gift from God.  Pursue leadership for the fulfillment of the gifts that God has given you. He has you in your role for a purpose.  That purpose is to glorify Him and not yourself.

I hope these thoughts are helpful, but then I might just be wise in my own eyes.

https://ref.ly/Pr28.11 via the Logos Bible Android app.

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Word Choice – Proverbs 26:20–21

April 9, 2020

“For lack of wood,
a fire goes out,

and where there is no whisperer,
quarreling will cease.

As charcoal is to hot embers and wood is to fire,
so a man of quarrels is to kindling strife.”

Words are either fuel for a fire,
or salve on a burn.

Sad the number who play strife’s arson
by whispering gossip and quarreling nonsense.

Choice of words are governed from within.
Words obeying their chosen sovereign.

Peace makers or conflict creators, our words will show.
Whisper collector or gossip settler, for all to know.

Repent from your arson ways, your heart cannot hide.
Quenching a quarrel’s ember, quietly glorifying.

When hearts choose a righteous temperature for words,
their Sovereign is always magnified.

881px-Johannes_Moreelse_-_Democritus_-_Google_Art_Project

A tongue of deceit hates its victim, and a flattering mouth makes ruin. ~ Proverbs 26:28

 

https://ref.ly/Pr26.20-21 via the Logos Bible Android app.

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The Order of Things – Leviticus 9:7

April 7, 2020

“Then Moses said to Aaron, “Approach the altar and sacrifice your sin offering and your burnt offering, and make atonement for yourself and for the people. And sacrifice the people’s offering and make atonement for them, just as God has commanded.””

The order of things matters.  The sequencing of components is critical.  The chronology of events is crucial.

There are ingredients in a recipe when removed, ruin the meal.

Change the sequence of your DNA and you become a different person.

Remove critical links in history and our world transforms into something very different.

I struggle with my Bible reading plan, when it comes to Leviticus.  Leviticus is about the law.  Leviticus is about rules.  Also, Leviticus is about the order of things and that the order of things, matters.

The Israelites got to experience the glory of God.  They were allowed to witness His power.  They were overwhelmed with joy and worshipped.

Leviticus 9:23–24: Then Moses and Aaron entered the tent of assembly. When they came out, they blessed the people, and God’s glory appeared to all the people. Then a fire went out from before God, and it consumed the burnt offering and the fat portions on the altar. And all the people saw it, so they shouted for joy, and they fell on their faces.

Yet, there were instructions, whose fulfillment were necessary, prior to God revealing His glory to His chosen people.  Atonement for the sins of the priests and the people was necessary before God came down amongst them, fulfilling their joy and worship.

The order mattered.

I am reminded that the order still matters. Atonement still matters. Atonement is still the critical ingredient for a true relationship with God. We do not dictate the terms of our relationship with God.  God determines the order of things.

I fear that many people are seeking well-being, harmony, and a form of joy through a spiritual experience with god, absent atonement.  The problem with atonement is that it requires me to acknowledge:

  • That I am a sinner,
  • That my sin separates me from God and His glory,
  • That I need a sacrifice to atone for my sin,
  • That Jesus Christ was the atoning sacrifice for my sin.

Once again, the ingredients of atonement matter.  I cannot know salvation without the belief in all those critical ingredients.  Remove any one and Christ’s atoning sacrifice is no longer applicable to me.

We rarely talk about atonement anymore.  We rarely talk about sin anymore.  I don’t know what other people are experiencing when they describe a spiritual experience while denying the critical ingredients of atonement.  Whatever they are experiencing, it is a pale imitation of the true joy predicated on a relationship properly ordered with the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

Let’s not be content with a pale imitation.

Let’s obediently acknowledge the true order of God’s plan, starting with atonement.

If you have any questions on atonement, please send me an email or a comment.

https://ref.ly/Le9.7 via the Logos Bible Android app.

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Mind Matters – Philippians 4:8–9

March 31, 2020

“Finally, brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are honorable, whatever things are right, whatever things are pure, whatever things are pleasing, whatever things are commendable, if there is any excellence of character and if anything praiseworthy, think about these things. And the things which you have learned and received and heard about and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”

My mind prepends things; good things, bad things.
My mind ponders things; kind things, cruel things.
My mind plans things; commendable things, contemptible things.

My mind conceives things; wonderful things, wicked things.
My mind craves things; honorable things, hurtful things.
My mind concocts things; uplifting things, demeaning things.

My mind flits amongst so many things, that rarely is it ever settled.  Mixed and competing emotions battle for that moment of expression, when the mind touches the physical world.  Where the mind settles at the moment of action determines whether those actions are destined for the treasury or the dung heap.

The mind matters; the things (thoughts) of the mind matter.

The mind determines who we are in the physical world, which matters. I don’t want to diminish the works  of the mortal world.  However, the motives of the immortal world, the world of the mind, matter more.  Good works from bad motives always corrupts the produce, no matter how pleasing it may appear to the physical eye.  

The settling of thoughts matter because your thoughts define who you are.  Who are you?  Write down five thoughts upon which your mind routinely revolves.  Are they worthy thoughts or unworthy?  Are they redeeming thoughts or demeaning?  The preponderence of those thoughts define you.  Therefore, they matter.

If those thoughts are not who you have been called to be, then you must change your mind.  Easy to say, hard to do.  Yet, the mind must be controlled in order for it to be changed.

How do you control the mind?  First, you must be resolved upon who God has called His children to be. Write down five characteristics that you know should defined a child of God.

These are the feasts for your mind to settle upon when it is unsettled.  These are the honorable things, the right things, the pure things, the pleasing things, the commendable things, the fruit-of-the-spirit things for your mind to return to.  Think about these things. Ask the Holy Spirit for these things.  Your mind is a collaboration between your will and God.  Ask and you will receive. Think upon the things of God and it will happen.

And soon, the things you think about, the things your mind returns to, will transform you into the person God has called you to be, practicing things pleasing to Him and worthy of the treasury.

https://ref.ly/Php4.8-9 via the Logos Bible Android app.

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