Posts Tagged ‘Bible Reading’

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HIS WAYS

June 24, 2020

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There is a degree of confidence that comes with knowledge.  Assurance rises through the fullfillment of an agreeable plan.  We rest comfortably while our lives unfold in accordance to the foreseeable circumstances of normal.

We rarely have difficulty when our thoughts are aligned with His and His ways correspond to ours.  The course of life is comfortable while the heavens seem in line with the earth and God does not demand anything beyond our normal aspirations.

What happens when our ways diverge from His;
when His ways cause pain and His thoughts seem cruel?

The worlds of the created can fall apart in the of a span of a day.  Within a week, I received the news that my Sister-in-Law and my cousin have limited time on this earth.  It appears that God’s ways are truly not my ways.  His thoughts assuredly are not my thoughts.  The diagnosis of terminal shocks one out of the delusion of normal and into the confusion of a denied reality.

People die before the time that I had prescribed for them.
Families grieve losses cloaked in the darkness of the unknowable.
Minds are clouded in the defeat of impending death.

This world sucks.

The delusion of normal is a dangerous mindset.  The delusion of the world as wonderful and a place of paradise cannot abide with the reality of suffering.  We were never promised a world of delights.  We were never promised a world unbroken. We were never promised a world without pain.

That is why this world had to be overcome.

We were told that this world contains suffering even as we thrash beneath its hand.  We were told that evil rules even as we look away from the evidence.  We were told that there are mysteries beyond our understanding even as we try to deduce them.

This is why our home is not here.  This world had to be overcome in order for us to escape and enter into true rest.  A terminal diagnosis is yet another reminder that we need a redeemer, a rescuer, who will take us to our rest.  I do not love this world.  I want to go home.

I am thankful that His ways are better than mine.
I am thankful that His thoughts are beyond mine.
I am thanful that He is good.
I am thankful that He has overcome this world.
I am thankful that His love flows.

When normal crumbles, faith must remain.  When knowledge fades, hope must shine.  When defeat abounds, love must abide.

 

 

 

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Sign in the Sad

May 24, 2020

Depression is something I don’t understand.  I gravitate towards answers that are conclusive with clear prognosis.  Depression does not accommodate either. 

Depression does not lend itself to a comfortable cause-effect diagnosis.  I want those whom I love to be happy.  I want to “fix” it for them.  Their sadness seems like my failure, even though I know it is not.  

Depression relegates solvers into supports verging on spectators.  

I have heard the explanation of causes – chemical, biological, neurological, environmental and the combination there of.  I don’t dispute their veracity while acknowledging their bothersome uncertainty.

I have often wondered if there is more intertwined in the uncertain explanations than the physical.

We are told that there will be a time when the experience of the depressed will not be limited in numbers.   Consider a world where the reality of the depressed is not unique, not a clinical diagnosis, but the universal experience of the whole. Where the joy has gone and darkness reigns.  Where the merry of heart have resigned and numbness ascends.  

Maybe, depression is more than a taste for an unfortunate few but a universal sign beyond that particular issue; a foretaste to when merriment yields to blindfolds being removed.  Reality being revealed to a world, which has chosen it’s own rule.  A reminder of the warnings of old, to the prophesies, where we are told, that merriment in what we hold will be banished beyond any gravitational fold.

Maybe, these thoughts are more imagination than inspiration, but I long for the depressed to be made whole now. Even if depression isn’t a sign, I am motivated even more to pray for the lost to be found, so that they never know the absence of joy, follow into the on-coming darkness.

https://soundfaith.com/logos-media-share/496874

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Socially Distant

May 21, 2020


We are told to distance ourselves.

Separation has become a prescription.

Conveyance prevention, a priority.

Efficacy measured by normality.

We separate, fearing the unseen.

Celebrating the fruitlessness of disease never known.

But what of maladies needing proximity?

I have heard it said, “I’m taking a break from God.”

Distancing for a time from the Divine.

Is separation the prescription for spiritual affliction?

What conveyance is this break preventing?

Do we need less Spirit; peace, love, joy?

To isolate alone, isn’t that a symptom of the malady?

Distancing oneself to ruin, it seems.

All the while, the prescription resides in drawing near.

We should pull close when unfelt feelings arise.

When God seems not to hear.

When the old man wants to flee,

We bind him in our need.

Abiding in the Spirit, there is the key.

Side by side or I’ll think, “A break is all I need”.

Assurance will come, when ruin is foregone,

Through the healing breath of the Unseen.

Celebrated in the fruitfulness of the Known.

https://soundfaith.com/logos-media-share/495489

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Testing For Fear – Psalm 56:3

May 14, 2020

I am a bit anxious this morning, I will not lie.

All the self-confidence belies the insecurities of a day full of significance.  Today, I lead a team readied for a presentation instrumental in winning a five year, $15 million contract.

It is a big deal for a small company.  We have been waiting for eight years. 

I am embarrassed by my own anxiety.  No lives hang in the balance.  My employment is not dependent upon the perfect pitch.  All today can hold is a hope for a bulwark against tomorrow’s uncertainty,  so that I won’t have to worry about where tomorrow’s prosperity will reside.

Oh, foolish man that I am.

In essence, my anxiety reveals an inherent resistance to trusting the One who truly controls the conditions of my future.

God knows what I need and when I need it. He has provided my daily bread my entire life and I know He will provide tomorrow’s.

My anxiety is just a fear;  a revelation of an unholy alliance with control.

Are you fearful, like me?  Our response to uncertainty is the most revealing test one’s faith can undergo. Testing for fear is not a scare opportunity.  

The nature response to uncertainty is fear, whether we recognize it as fear or not.  Fear changes us.  It effects our behavior.  It modifies our attitude.  It steals our joy.

Fear is a foe.

So, I repented this morning.  I have changed my anxiety to trust.  I have done all the work to be prepared for today but God has done more.  It has been Him who has sheltered me to this point and it will be Him who shelters me through tomorrow. 

Therefore, I can enjoy the opportunity of today.  There are not many people who get to do what I have the privilege to do.  I will trust, which enables me to enjoy.
https://soundfaith.com/logos-media-share/491949

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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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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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Conflict Resolution: Which Path? – Proverbs 15:1

March 29, 2020

“A soft answer will turn away wrath,
but a word of trouble will stir anger.”

Imagine we have a difficult hike to make. Our destination is a community of peace on the opposite side of a mountain.  This mountain is large and formidable.  There are areas of instability, where a rock slide could sweep us away. There are vast stretches lacking any springs for refreshment.

Obviously, the shortest course will be to go directly over the mountain.  These routes are poorly marked and likely filled with all the hardship of an ill-advised expedition.  Many have tried these routes, but few parties ever arrived at the community of peace intact.

The other route is long.  It meanders along the valleys and ravines. The path is broad, following a refreshing stream.  Travelers wind past hazards while slowly gaining elevation.  

Often, the gains are imperceptible causing travelers to become discouraged and set off on more direct routes. Those routes rarely lead up the mountain.  Often, these impatient travelers find themselves once again at the base of the same mountain or a new one.

The patient traveler diligently stays on the long path with his destination firmly fixed in his mind.  The goal for these patient parties is not simply to overcome the mountain but to summit the mountain as a group, not as individuals.  The long route is the most likely path for the group to achieve their goal and reach the community of peace but it takes uncommon endurance.

I consider conflict a mountain.  Conflicts are barriers to peace and unity, just like a mountain separating you from your destination.  Conflicts are difficult with a lot of hazards which can result in even more barriers if not handled carefully.

Some refuse to deal with conflict.  They are like the travelers that never leave camp.  They sit at the base of a mountain and wonder why the conflict never goes away.

Some choose a direct route.  They say it like it is.  They don’t select their words carefully and rarely listen for a response without an interpretation.  These direct routes often include “words of trouble” that only stir up more anger.  Many, on a direct route, excuse their course as being part of their nature. As if, they had no other choice but a direct confrontation.  

In my experience, directness is not a personality trait.  The direct person is usually either impatient or selfish (unloving).  Those on the direct route rarely get off the mountain of conflict.  It is where they live.  They feel like the world is out to get them, never realizing that they are the ones continuing to raise more mountains (barriers).

Gentleness of tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it causes a break in spirit. Proverbs 15:4 

The long route is hard, mostly because it involves a lot of self-control.  Yet, gentleness takes time.  Soft words must be allowed to seep in and moderate the heart of a conflict.  Kindness has to be kindled and love often must be demonstrated through long-suffering.  Conflict resolution requires consideration, which will rarely be granted when there is a break in spirit. 

Travelers of the long route must value gentleness, patience, kindness, self-control, and love.  I don’t see travelers on direct routes valuing those same attributes.  Is it any wonder that a world valuing direct, powerful, harsh, responses is a world mired in conflict?

Conflict is not fun.  However, the mountain will never go away until it is surmounted.  If you are ready to deal with your mountain, what route are you going to take? May I encourage you to take the long way?

 Do nothing according to selfish ambition or according to empty conceit, but in humility considering one another better than yourselves, each of you not looking out for your own interests, but also each of you for the interests of others.  Philippians 2:3–4

https://ref.ly/Pr15.1 via the Logos Bible Android app.

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Do You Know Him? – John 17:3

March 28, 2020

“Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.”

I wonder do you know him?

I have heard criticism that people like me make too much of Jesus.  That people like me focus too much on the person of Jesus Christ rather than the teachings of Jesus Christ.

I wonder do you know him?

I have heard arguments that the obsession of people like me, on the person of Jesus, is too exclusive of the beliefs of others.  That people like me should accept Jesus’s teachings on the intellectual bookshelf, amongst the other great moral philosophers of the ages.

I wonder do you know him?

I have heard reasoning that people like me have made too much of the great historical figure that Jesus was.  That people like me have been duped by history’s charlatans into believing that Jesus was something more than a mere mortal.

They don’t know him!

Jesus did not reveal himself to be studied. He revealed himself to be known.  I can study historical figures and learn about their actions, motivations, and philosophy but I will never say that I knew them. Jesus continues to be a topic in many lectures.  His teachings are analyzed in countless books. I can learn everything about Jesus but I will never know him until I actually follow his teaching and believe what he said about himself.

I wonder do you know him?

Faith is the prerequisite to knowing God and Jesus Christ, whom he sent.  God did not reveal himself for intellectual praise.  God revealed himself through his son, Jesus Christ, to demonstrate his mercy and grace by saving a people who believe in him, as he revealed himself.

I wonder do you know him?

God doesn’t save people who are intellectually aware of his historical teachings.  God doesn’t award merit to the strict adherence to rules given in the wilderness.  God saves those who believe in him, love him, know him.  People like me.  

I know him because he saved me. I cannot help making too much of Jesus. The person of Jesus Christ is worthy of too much focus because that is what love does.  God is exclusive.  He always has been exclusive.  He is a jealous God.  He is exclusive to those who receive his free gift.  He is exclusive to people who know him.

I wonder will you know him?

“For the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God.” John 16:27

https://ref.ly/Jn17.3 via the Logos Bible Android app.

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The Fruit of Deception – Proverbs 6:12–15

March 20, 2020

“A worthless man, an evil man,
goes around with deceitful speech.
Winking in his eye, shuffling in his foot,
pointing in his fingers,
perversion in his heart, he devises evil;
at all times he will send out discord.
Upon such a man, suddenly shall his calamity come;
in a moment he will be damaged and there is no healing”

I recently had an employee who appeared to be a great “marketer”. He had a big personality; a fill-the-room type of presence.  In the world of consulting engineering, it is hard to find people who like to do the cold-call marketing.  This guy seemed made for it.

He had a great resume. He had great experience.  He had a philosophy for a great cultural fit.

Yet, with all that greatness potential, I fired him.

I fired him because greatness doesn’t trump deceitfulness.

It took me over a year of trying to work with him; trying to get his greatness to flourish without the discord that continued to fester.  It took me over a year to realize that there actually was no greatness.  His shtick was a deceptive illusion.

I had been deceived by a carefully crafted resume that masterfully gave false impressions.  I had been deceived into believing that a person who taught the principles of how I try to manage, would actually practice it.

So, I endured a year of discord.  A year of smoothing down ruffled feathers.  A year of confronting and encouraging the proper behaviour.  A year of scratching my head in hopes that I would not have to give up on someone.

But then came that last straw of deception and I had no choice but to fire him without warning.  

Upon such a man, suddenly shall his calamity come;
in a moment he will be damaged and there is no healing

I always hope when I fire a person that it will be a wake up call and they will change their behavior.  However, I don’t have much hope.  I recently saw his updated LinkedIn profile.  His description of his work while under my employment is…more deception.

Therefore, I conclude that Proverbs is as relevant today as it was in Solomon’s time.  This man has…

perversion in his heart, he devises evil;

This man needs Jesus.  Without Jesus, none of us can ever experience the greatness for which we were individually created.  Jesus is the only one who can cure a deceitful heart because a deceitful heart comes from a perverse heart, which is a evil heart.  

We all need Jesus, every day!  Therefore, this man will stay in my prayers for God to do a miracle and change his heart.  The same miracle He did for me.

https://ref.ly/Pr6.12-15 via the Logos Bible Android app.

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