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49

October 19, 2017 5 comments

I didn’t post Monday, as I have the last few weeks. I waited until today. 

It’s my birthday and I’m 49.

I don’t say that soliciting birthday wishes, though I won’t turn them down either.

I’ll spend my day dealing with some car trouble while on one of my annual Staycations.

I’ll reflect on life a bit as I enter my 50th year of life (is that even possible?).

I will tweet out that if I could, I would have said no to more things in the past.

I’ll read the 20,000 Days by Robert D. Smith, one of my annual traditions.

I may find time to watch Rogue One.

In other words, today is going to be a mixed bag. Kind of like life.

Kind of like the past 49 years.

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Categories: Uncategorized

Quit Hacking

I love movies that depict earlier, brutal times. I’m sure that’s a fault of mine, somehow, but true.

The funny thing is that no matter how much we want to clean it up, the Bible is full of stories that include tales that would make some great PG-13 and R rated material.

1 Samuel 15 includes one of these. Samuel hacks a king to death when Saul disobeyed the Lord and let him live.

It’s easy to take the stance that I need to be obedient and hack my sin to death in light of this story. I’ve used this as an illustration numerous times. After all, Jesus said to cut off your hand and foot and gouge out your eye to get in the Kingdom.

Except that I was wrong.

I don’t have to hack my sin to death. I don’t have to win the victory.

Jesus has already done it.

I just have to trust and follow Christ.

You see, the problem with the way I have been teaching this thing is like defeating sin was up to me. Like I can just take my sword and axe and take on sin, all by myself.

You see, Jesus has already done the heavy lifting. He died for my sins and rose for my righteousness.

What does that leave us to do? Abide in Him. Live and walk in the Spirit. Let the word richly indwell. Assemble with each other. Stir each other up to live and do good works.

That’s it. Sure, it’s hard, but easy at the same time. We make it hard on ourselves. But His burden is easy.

Categories: Uncategorized

Full Measures

The title to this post has popped up in my life a couple of times recently. A football coach mentioned just before the game to his team. A television show that almost everyone has heard of used it as the title of an episode.

Full measures.

I have been enthralled with a section of Mark’s Gospel. It’s found in the ninth chapter, beginning in verse 42. It contains some wonderful imagery.

Millstones tied around necks.

Hands cut off.

Feet chopped off.

Eyes gouged out.

Fires not quenched.

Worms not dying.

The thing that I keep coming around to is the Kingdom Life, the life Jesus is talking about, requires full measures.

Do I need to self-mutilate? No. But I have to be willing to do whatever it takes to be with Jesus, to be in His kingdom.

We take so many half-measures. We play a lot of games. We do this and that and love the lovable Jesus we find in the Bible.

But we don’t do whatever it takes. We don’t cut things out of our life that hinder us. We don’t maintain a singular focus.

Maybe you do. I don’t. But I’m guessing that I’m not unique.

Let’s start taking the steps toward full measures. It’s a journey. Let’s get started. 

Categories: Uncategorized

Respond or React???

September 26, 2016 Leave a comment

I’ve wanted to write this post for a week, but I keep getting stuck to the point that I would just have to put my computer up.  Finally, I think, I am able to push through and do it.

Someone I know wrote a rant on Facebook this week.  I’m not judging.  I’ve done it before and I’m afraid that I will again.

What happened was that this person felt wronged in business situation.  They wanted to make sure that all of their family and friends knew about it so that they would not patronize this business.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t work for me.  I’m the guy who wants to jump on the grass when I see a keep off the grass sign.  I see a wet paint sign?  I’m touching.  However, that isn’t really what this post is about.

The big problem I see is that this person reacted to their wrong or, perhaps, their perceived wrong.  They went off on the internet to make sure that the one who wronged them felt their wrath.

What if, instead, they had responded?

What’s the difference?

Reacting seems to always involve negative feelings.  It’s a defensive situation.  It make you feel good in the short time, but eventually that feeling fails to really satisfy.

Responding, however, tries to make a bad situation into the best one possible.  It doesn’t seek the demise or worst for the others in the situation.

Really, when it comes down to it, it’s the difference in following what we call the Golden Rule or not.  Seeking what you want for others what you would want for yourself is tough.  It isn’t natural.  It isn’t what we want to do.  Trust me, I’ve failed it more often than not.

There’s another way of looking at it that I think can be applied.  Zig Ziglar says that if you help enough other people get what they want, you will get everything you want.  I think that is one of the best applications of what Jesus said.

Instead of reacting negatively, let’s respond positively.

Instead of doing unto others as they have done, do as you want to be done.

Treat others as you want to be treated, not as you have been.

Help others get what they want.  You will end up getting what you want.

Sow sparingly and you will reap sparingly.  Sow bountifully and you reap bountifully.

Let’s seek out the positive in all situations instead of seeking out the negative.  I think we will find that life will be a lot happier and more joyful as we go.

Categories: Uncategorized

How To Have An Effective Prayer Life

September 7, 2016 2 comments

I think all of us who follow Christ want an effective prayer life.  We want it to be consistent and powerful.  We long to see prayers answered.  We desire a sweet fellowship with our God as we communicate with Him.  Yet, there’s the rub.  How do we do that?

I think the answer is much easier than we think.  In fact, I think that is part of the problem.  We make it harder than it has to be.  LIke many things, to really have the prayer life we want, we just need one thing.

A system.

Now, I expect some push back here.  Some will want to avoid the very semblance of there being a system.  They want to just pray when the Spirit hits them.  They just want to almost fly by the seat of their pants.  They are afraid that their prayer life might become too regimented and legalistic.  I think there is a Greek work that addresses that.

Baloney.

Look at the world that God created and maintains.  Does it just float around any which way?  Does God just seem to fly by the seat of His pants when it comes to the universe?  I don’t think so.  God is a God of order.  He creates these wonderful systems we live in and then sometimes he overrules His own rules and does something out of the ordinary.

Look at the life of Daniel.  In Daniel 6, prayer was outlawed for thirty days.  When Daniel knew this happened, he went to his house to pray.  He did this three times each day.  Daniel ended up in the lion’s den because of this.  The point, though, is that Daniel had a system for praying.  He prayed three times each day.  Evidently it was so regular than people knew when it took place.  His enemies certainly did.

Now, what system should you choose?  Sometimes I get asked a question about what Bible people should read.  I always say they should read the one they will read.  I don’t try to complicate it.  I think it should be the same with prayer.  Find a system that works for you.  If that means you turn off the radio and pray on the way to work, do it.  If it means that you prayer for five minutes seven times a day, do it.  I don’t care.  And I don’t think God cares either.  I think that if you develop a system for prayer that is regular, you’ll find yourself praying during those spontaneous, fly by the seat of your pants moments too.  It will actually free you up to pray.

Create yourself a system for prayer.  Start out simple and expand it.  Eventually you will pray without ceasing.

Categories: Uncategorized

This Isn’t Easy

September 2, 2016 Leave a comment

Have you ever returned to some sort of exercise program after a long layoff? I have. I’ve started running again several times in my life.

Often when I get started, the first run back is easy. The second one may even even be so. The third and fourth? Not so much. The daily consistent grind? Easy, yet tough.

It’s that way with writing a blog. Yesterday’s post was easy. Today? Tough. Doing it daily? Real hard.

How about prayer? Reading the Bible? Easy to do until you try to do it on a daily basis.

What good comes from running daily? Better health and physical fitness.

Writing a blog daily? Discipline and relationships built. How would I know Bill, Rob, Jon and Phil(and many others) without blogging in my life?

What good is daily prayer and Bible reading? The benefits are immeasurable.

None of these things are easy. Nothing worthwhile is. But worth it? Absolutely.

Categories: Uncategorized

Glad To Be Back

September 1, 2016 6 comments

It’s been ten days since I said that I would be starting back doing, well, Deuceology.  I thought I would ease back in by giving a little more explanation of what happened this summer.

A few months ago there was a transition at work.  My boss moved to a new position.  A new boss arrived.  I would be lying if I said that I have enjoyed the newness of the past three months or so.  However, there was a downside.

With the new boss came a different expectation.  More work was delegated my way.  That doesn’t even take into account an increase in our normal work.  Plus there was a discovery.

I simply couldn’t do it all.

This summer I’ve been preaching/teaching through the Gospel of Mark.  The first three chapters go at a breakneck pace.  Tucked in there in Chapter 1 is an interesting thing that Jesus does.

Jesus got up early and went to a desolate place to get alone.  He got away from every one and every thing.  He prayed.

I would like to say that I spent all of my time away from here like Jesus did.  You know, praying.  I can’t honestly say that.  I did, some.  Hopefully enough that it will show up in what I write.

I’m going to do my best to get back to doing what I love to do here.  Pray for me.  I’ll pray for you.

 

Categories: Uncategorized