Tag Archives: who’s in control

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

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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

SILLY GAMES, GOD and MY EGO.070815

Father playing chess with sonNowadays, if you want to spend time with your kids, many dads play video games.  It’s fun, even if the kids beat you.  Not so long ago, before the days of I-phones, on a rainy or snowy day, dads and kids would play table games.  Checkers, chess, cards, spoons, dominoes, maybe even Monopoly.  We used to play Scrabble.  In good weather, when it wasn’t too hot or cold, we’d get outside and play horseshoes, or a pick-up game of baseball or touch football. Oh, and ping-pong.  We used to stand in the garage and play ping-pong til the wee hours. All fun, light-hearted entertainment.  I don’t know about you, but some of the best times of my life, both as a kid and as a dad, were spent playing silly games with my dad or my kids.

Two observations: 1 The games weren’t just silly, often they were serious; and 2 There was a lot more going on there than fun, light-hearted entertainment. Continue reading

WHO IS YOUR MASTER? 041815

Business conceptMatthew 6:24 “Jesus: No one can serve two masters. If you try, you will wind up loving the first master and hating the second, or vice versa. People try to serve both God and money—but you can’t. You must choose one or the other.” (VOICE)  The old versions, like KJV, say “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” (Mammon = riches)

If you can’t serve both, then you must choose.  Or as I often say, “You get to choose.”  Do you want to serve money and stuff, or do you want to serve the Creator and Ruler of the Universe? Continue reading

Would You be My Disciple? 011415

In Luke 9:23, Jesus says, “If anyone would be My disciple, let him 1] deny himself, and 2] take up his cross 3] daily, and 4] follow me.”

What does that mean?  Some say it means that each person has a special personal burden to bear in his life as he follows Jesus.  I’m satisfied that it means something qualitatively different from that.  What happened to Jesus when He ‘took up His cross’? He died.  In this verse Jesus calls us, you and me, to die to our sinful selves, daily, and follow Him.  That’s what ‘take up your cross’ means.  Are you ready?

In Galatians 2:20, Paul says: “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith [trust] of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”   What does this verse have to do with being humble?  Well, how much more humble can you get than being crucified?   This verse is all about surrendering, humbling your self, and letting Jesus live His life in you; so that His faith [trust], His love, and His humility come to dwell in you.

It’s like in Philippians 2:5-8, where Paul says, “Let this mind [this attitude] be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who being found as a man, .  .  .  humbled Himself and became a servant [slave], .  .  .  and was obedient unto death, even death on a cross.”  The whole passage starts out with, “Let this mind [this attitude] be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.”  What attitude? Humility, servanthood, obedience, self-denial; willingness to die to our sinful nature, daily (over and over), and follow our Lord.

The Pure in Heart and the Peacemakers: 010815

Matt. 5:8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. 9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons [and daughters] of God.

“Blessed are the pure in heart.”  Is there anybody out there who is really pure in heart?  I don’t know.  But I do know I have met very few.  And the few I’ve met have been little old people who have long ago given up thinking they’re somebody; given up any illusions of how great they are; surrendered their whole hearts to God; and God has poured a full dose of His purity into them.  Pure, unadulterated, whole, entire, love.  All about God, none about them.  That’s humble.

“Blessed are the peacemakers.”  Why them?  Why does God bless them?  Maybe it’s because in order to be a peacemaker, you have to know how to be humble.  You have to attribute the best motives to both sides, in order to find the middle ground of peace.  Maybe it’s because you can’t be the “ruler” and expect either side to genuinely agree to peace.  Maybe peace only comes from God (really), and if you’re going to “make peace”, you’re going to have to get your self and all of the self-ish stuff out of the way, because that’s the only way God can or will use you to “make peace”.  Did you ever think about the word “selfish”?  We always think it means an attitude of possession, usually of property, stuff, things.  But “self-ish” really is a lot more about me having my way.  Not just about stuff, but more about control.  My ball, my game, my goal posts, my way.  If you don’t do things my way, then I’m not going to play with you anymore.  I’m just going to pack my stuff and go home.  Not much humility in that, is there?

Like it has been said before, if you want to be like Jesus, you have to be humble.  Jesus was the same Person about Whom Paul said, in Philippians 2:5-8:  “Let this mind, [this attitude] be in you that was in Christ Jesus, .  .  .  who, being found as a man,  .  .  humbled himself and became a servant [a slave]  .  .  and was obedient unto death, even death on a cross.”  So if you want to be pure in heart, so pure that you see God; if you want to be a peacemaker, so that you’re called a son [or daughter] of God; then you have to Be Like Jesus; and part of what that means is to be humble.