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Showing posts from November 16, 2014

The Goal

A "goal" can be seen at each end of a football field. It is the objective of every team to get the ball into the goal. A "goal" can be a sought after physical thing, a feeling, a location; an end one strives to obtain. We all have them, some are written down and others are mentally acknowledged, they are what drive us forward. Peter wrote to people who were "scattered" throughout several provinces in Asia Minor, known today as Turkey, about the security of their salvation daily and connected it to the work of God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son and the Holy Spirit. He said they were given a new birth "into a living hope" (1 Peter 1:3) and "into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade." (1:4) He wrote that they were "shielded by God's power," (1:5) until the end, and they were locked in even as they suffered "grief in all kinds of trials." (1:6) This is what we call the perseverance of the saints. It i…

Upright Heart

The goal of God is helping each of us come to an understand of what it means to be upright in our heart. The heart is the center of a person's being and for it to be upright means that the heart is pure of evil motives, free from strong and selfish desires and focused on God's ways and will. To make a table "upright" assumes it is not presently in that condition but is fallen on its side or is upside down. It needs to be lifted up so it can stand on its own feet; to place it in its most usable position; the position for which it was designed. Each of us is changed in heart when Christ is recognized as Savior and Lord. We are set upon our feet and enabled then to accomplish what God has for us. The Psalmist said, "I will praise you [God] with an upright heart as I learn your righteous laws." (Psalm 119:7) God's ways, shown to us throughout scripture, teach us how to have an upright heart. So, we must be daily about the task of learning through reading, me…

Practical Atheism

It is fascinating to see how much you and I depend on things being the same day after day. We sit with our calendar and plan out a vacation several months away, a business plan for the next year, a trip here and a meeting there, all the time, assuming upon the consistency of our future. The Apostle James wrote to fellow believers about faith and actions. He said of some believers "you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.' Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow." (James 4:13-14) There are several missteps by these persons. One, they assume they have tomorrow or even the rest of today. Second, they are whimsical about where they are going by saying, "this or that city." Third, they determine how long they will "spend" there. Fourth, what they will do there, "carry on business." And fifth, the largest presumption was the positive result of their time an…

Bad Talk

What is your natural way in conversations at work, home and with friends. Do you often speak to quickly? Is your speech sprinkled with anger so that you end up saying things you later regret? Is there any guiding rule that can keep you from making mistakes in speech? Yes! There is a guideline that if embraced can give you on opportunity to halt bad talk. It is "Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry." (James 1:19) One quick and two slows. Look at the one quick, first. "Quick to listen" is paramount. It has been said when you open your mouth to talk it closes your ears to listen. Telling yourself in the middle of a discussion, "I need to keep listening and stop talking," can make a huge difference in the final outcome. Those who listen are noted as being wise, pleasant to talk with, good conversationalists. Everyone likes to hear themselves talk but a person who listens is deferring to the other and the other likes them fo…

Persevere

To continue doing something in spite of difficulty and opposition is a challenge which rewards us in the present and in the future. Runners have to get up every day (or almost every day) and run. Teachers have to teach. Sales people have to present items for sale. Leaders have to lead. Preachers have to preach. Believers have to live by faith. Some have portrayed the Christian life as being void of the daily pressures of life and as being a retreat from reality but that is not what the Bible says. In Hebrews 11 there is listed a host of people who experienced difficult situations and died for their very faith. James recognized that living the Christian life was not easy. He also expressed the advantage of persevering in it. James said, "Consider it pure joy…whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." (James 1:2-4) To…

The Danger of Praise

Recently there have been discussions on TV about the danger of giving your children too much praise. Did they really deserve praise for what they did or should they just have been encouraged to continue to do better. If a child receives nothing but praise, does it fill him with an inaccurate view of himself and lead him to destructive pride? I spent the summer of 1968 working in an aluminum, brass and bronze foundry. It was a dirty job as fine black dirt was used to make molds so that liquid metal could be poured into them, cooled and revealed as newly formed tools or parts. I watched the men in asbestos suits drop bricks of metal into white hot caldrons and then as it melted saw them scoop off dross from the top of the caldron. One man has said, "for put even the finest gold into the furnace, how humbling is the spectacle of the dross that yet cleaves to it." There are advertisements about gold being 99% pure, recognizing its inability to get it to 100%. Solomon applied th…