Tag Archives: personal relationship with God

CATS ‘N’ DOGS.071016

American staffordshire terrier dog playing with little kitten

I’ve had people tell me that I oversimplify things, that I try to reduce everything to the most elemental level possible.  They’re right.  I actually LIKE to do that; to find ways that simple things CAN explain, do explain, complicated matters.  Here’s one for you: “Some people are like cats and some are like dogs.”  I’m sure you’ve heard of this idea before.  It’s not new, just true.

Take cats.  They’re an independent lot.  Fascinating.  On a good day they’ll purr and rub up against you, even crawl up in your lap and let you pet them as long as they want.  They’re soft and cuddly.  Often they’re very expressive.  They have any number of different “meows” to tell you what they want or need.  But don’t get crossways with them.  They may not talk to you or get close to you for a week.  And when you try to get them to do something they don’t want to do, forget it.  If you’re wondering who is the master and who is the pet, you obviously haven’t been around cats much.  Oh and have you noticed the disdain they have for dogs?  You’ve probably seen an 80 lb dog back down from a 10 lb cat.  And what about quick response to direction?  Even when they’re accustomed to doing something you want them to, they have to take time for a little grooming.  Their timing, their rules, their game, their way.

On the other hand, take dogs.  Some little, some big.  Almost all are just DRIVEN by this desire to please their master.  They may have been in the crate for hours, but when you come home and let them out, they try to lick you to death.  They’re wagging their tails so hard they can hardly stand up.  They run in circles to entertain you and let you know how much they missed you.  If you let them, they’ll follow you wherever you go, wind, snow, sleet, rain, or dead of night.  And they’re really protective of the master and his or her clan.  Again, little or big, old or young; if anyone attacks, they are ready, willing and often able to defend.  Even when the master is old or broke or really cranky, even when he beats his dog for something he didn’t do, the dog is there to please, to worship the ground he walks on.

You probably already know the punch line:  “Some people are like cats and some are like dogs.”  It’s almost exactly like that other line: “Some people are believers, some are skeptics.”  Continue reading

CONSISTENCY.040516

Open Your Heart Concept

“Consistency is the crutch of small minds.”  Tex (from a letter to my kids)

Some people said Jesus was inconsistent because He said people should abide by the law one time, and the next time He said people should be led by the Spirit, and be merciful to lawbreakers. Even in the Old Testament, God said He’d rather have someone with an obedient heart than sacrifice, even though sacrifice was according to the law.

Over and over in the Bible, it says that God looks at the heart.  Somehow or other it should be the way we look at it too.  I’m sure people ought to do what they say they will, but you don’t have to do the same way ever time. Different situations require different responses.

And this isn’t situation ethics either.  It is just realizing that we ascribe to a higher law, which is layman’s terms is being true to God and the people that God puts you with, above being true to man’s law or any dogmatic principle.  (How do you know which is is right?  If you’re seeking God, you’ll know.)  Like it says in the Bible, “This is the first and great commandment, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, . . . And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.”  This is the fulfillment of all of the law and all of the prophets.  If you love God, you will keep His commandments; if you love your neighbor, you’ll treat him right.

My experience has been that if you abide by these two commandments, you won’t always appear consistent to the world, but you will usually do the right thing, and you will be consistent to God and in your heart.

PRACTICING CHRISTIAN 7: Daily Quiet Time, Part 2.Devotional.102715

Surprised woman using laptop in parkI started reading the Bible pretty regularly fairly early in my life (maybe age 35-40) It was quite a bit later when I started reading a devotional every day.  In fact it was in 2000, after I went on a “Walk to Emmaus”, in my weekly ‘Reunion Group’ they would start their meetings by reading that day’s devotional from My Utmost for His Highest, by Oswald Chambers.  Someone gave me a copy, and I started reading it (every day).  I’d write down what it meant to me.  Then I’d compare my daily Bible verse from my list with Oswald’s point(s), and I’d try to figure out what God was trying to say to me from those two sources, taken together.  I got some amazing revelations from Him in those little sessions.  I’m still doing that, 15 years later.  But now I’ve started including two or three additional daily devotionals from various writers, like Brennan Manning, or Charles Stanley, or Max Lucado, or Alistair Begg, all of whom I respect as committed men of God.  In my journal I write down the most important point from each one’s post for that day, and then compare them to see how they fit together.   Again, major revelations appear from those short readings and comparisons.  Continue reading

GOD’S PERFECT TIMING.102315

race horsesIn Isaiah 40:31, it says, “They that wait on the Lord will renew their strength, they will mount up with wings as eagles, they will run and not be weary, they will walk and not faint.”  Waiting (patiently).  It’s a great concept, but very hard to accomplish.  In my life, I find I have to do a lot of waiting.  In my job, I wait on answers from the client, or a decree from a judge, or 92 cars in front of me in traffic, or for the check in the mail.  Sometimes I’m able to see through the wait to what God is doing for me by making me wait, but most of the time not.  Some days I remember that wait and hope are the same word in Spanish, and I fervently hope that God is doing something, even though it sure doesn’t look or feel like it.  Occasionally, very occasionally, I get around to trusting God, knowing that all things (even waiting) work together for good to those that love the Lord, to the ones that are “the called” according to His purpose. (Rom 8:28)  That helps me relax.  Rarely, I remember that passage in 1 Thess. 5:16-18, where it says, “Rejoice evermore, pray without ceasing, in all things give thanks (even in the waiting) for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”  Continue reading

PRACTICING CHRISTIAN, PART THREE.102215

Stress Burdens Sticky Notes Reminders for Stressful LifeIn the most recent post on this subject, I discussed that ‘practicing’ Christians follow certain fundamentals in their lives, the way baseball players follow certain fundamentals in playing baseball, and 1] is FOCUS ON GOD EVERY DAY.  I said something like, “Give Him some time and attention”.

Just this week I’ve been reminded that there are a lot of distractions in the world that keep us from (or impede our progress in) building this kind of relationship with Jesus.  I’m talking A LOT of distractions.  Some of them large and threatening, others apparently small and insignificant, but just as distracting.  Many of these are serious problems that require a great deal of time and attention, particularly in the eyes of well-meaning, God-fearing, Bible-believing people.  Things such as the state of our nation; the many astounding changes in our culture regarding sex, marriage, constitutional issues, leadership problems, immigration, liberal vs conservative disputes, and others too numerous to mention.  There are many, many things wrong, and someone just MUST do something about them.  All are legitimate concerns that require attention.

On the next level are all the things that we have to do TODAY!  Depending on what stage of life you’re at right now, Continue reading

GIVE. 080615  

FARMER WITH CORN.051115Luke 6:38 (NLT) “Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.”

Heard a story from back in the Middle Ages, about a farmer walking down the road with a sack of grain over his shoulder, going to market, when along comes a big fancy carriage and stops right beside him.  The door opens, the steps fold down, and out comes the King.  The King says to the farmer, “What do you have in your bag?”  The farmer says, “Wheat.”  Continue reading

Letter to Prison.070615

hands of a prisoner behind barsDear John, I got your letter dated June 7.  I’m very glad you wrote me.  I can see from your letter that you are feeling pretty stressed about your situation, and I don’t blame you.  I can tell that you are struggling with many things in your life, and I hope I can help you a little.
First, I certainly understand why people don’t attend church.  They have a lot of other things on their minds and they kinda lose contact with the people they know in church, and then they don’t really have any reason to go.  They don’t think they’re getting much out of it anyway, so why waste the time on it?  I’ve been there many times in the past.  Continue reading