The Struggle

For some, the struggle to do what is right is a daily fight. This struggle includes making wise decisions, being considerate of others, standing up for justice, doing what God says to do, and do it well. Why is this struggle so great?

The struggle to do right is greater because it is so much easier to give in to temptation. It is easier to think and act selfishly. It is easier to cuss someone out than to think about how to say what you want to say. It is easier to go along to get along than to stand on principles aligned with God’s Word.

If the struggle to do right was easy, many people would be saved and living abundant lives. But it is so much easier for people to live unsaved, without thinking about the consequences of their action, and how what they do impacts others. Since there are so many people struggling to live–without fear, without concern about finances or what the economy will bring or what the politicians will do, we know the struggle is real, we know there are people who have yet to find peace with Jesus, who are yet unsaved.

Lord Jesus, help us in our struggles to do what is right and help others to do the same. Help us to fight the good fight of faith in You, not self. Help us to resist the devil and watch him flee from us.

Expecting From The Lord!

Expecting From The Lord!

Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request. I Chronicles 4:10 NIV

So, the first day of boot camp didn’t quite turn out the way we wanted it to work.

The breakfast I had planned was a miserable fail (baked omelette). Apparently, I forgot something needed in the recipe and we ended up with cheesy egg toast.

Lunch was chicken salad, which for me was enhanced by using the cheesy egg toast for an open-faced sandwich.

Dinner–well, I have no idea since I didn’t eat dinner and left the others to their own devices.  We’ll get better as we go along–I hope.

A rocky start, but most of what we wanted to accomplish for day one–achieved.

Grandson is reading and analyzing specific passages of scriptures, relating them to daily living and other literature designed to open his eyes and open dialogue with us.

More next time–keep praying!

Lord, keep us focused on our task and always dependent upon You and enlarge our understanding of how to move forward in such a way that not only will our grandson learn a valuable lesson, but we will, too.

 

This Is It!

This Is It!

It is coming! It will surely take place, declares the Sovereign LORD. This is the day I have spoken of. Ezekiel 39:8 NIV

For the next few days, this blog will hit a little closer to home. We’re conducting a boot camp (of sorts) to teach my grandson a lesson in “fortitude” and staying the course of being right even in the wrong places with the wrong people.

We have a schedule beginning from 6:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. detailing what we’re doing each hour or block of time set out. He won’t have any free time until 4:00 p.m. and then we enter into our evening schedule of events until time for him to go to be 10:00 p.m.

When we love our children or grandchildren, sometimes we have to take “extreme” measures to get that message across to them in order to help them develop the skills and tools they’re going to need to survive–teenage years, young adulthood into mature adulthood.

So, we including exercises to build mental fortitude, physical fortitude, emotional fortitude and spiritual fortitude. I’m sure I’ll have to say in the coming days about what worked, how it worked and what adjustments we needed to make to ensure the outcome we expect.

We’re trying to help him develop critical thinking skills and how to react to adverse situations that could cost him his life.

Pray for us while we take this unknown journey–striving to reach the finish line of excellence so he’ll be ready for The Master’s use!

This is the day!

Recognizing The Foolish!

Recognizing The Foolish!

The mocker seeks wisdom and finds none, but knowledge comes easily to the discerning. Stay away from a fool, for you will not find knowledge on their lips. The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways, but the folly of fools is deception. Fools mock at making amends for sin, but goodwill is found among the upright. The wise fear the LORD and shun evil, but a fool is hotheaded and yet feels secure. A quick-tempered person does foolish things, and the one who devises evil schemes is hated. Proverbs 14:6-9, 16, 17 NIV

What is a mocker? A person who makes fun of others–appearances, values, and beliefs. They attempt to humiliate at every turn, thinking themselves to be superior to others.

One example of a mocker is the atheist who makes fun of other Believers. They say things like: our praying to an invisible God may as well as be praying to a spaghetti monster. Another example of a mocker is someone who makes fun of another person’s disabilities by exaggerating facial expressions, voice tones, or movements. And then these mockers think–they are wise in their own sight.

The “wise in their own sight” are often looked upon as being foolish because they never listen to others when people attempt to admonish them because of their attitudes or behavior. We see this every day–those who think they know something when they don’t.

I  (and many others) am extremely offended by the latest attempts of Donald Trump to “reach out to African Americans” on a number of levels. First of all, he’s not reaching out to a group of people when none of them are in his immediate presence. Secondly, if he wants to “reach” people, he might want to start off with more factual information about who they are rather than statistics that are easily debunked. Using a broad stroke of overgeneralization to describe any group of people is insensitive and negates the accomplishments or achievements of others within that group. What he said was racist and derogatory. Not all Black Americans are living in poverty; not all Black Americas are ignorant or stupid (the underlying meaning of his saying, “your schools are no good”), and most of the young people–the teens (his 58%) are high school students who are concentrating on avenues that will earn them scholarships for college.

His entire speech about reaching out to African Americans was mocking.  “What do you have to lose taking a chance on Trump?” Considering the ethnic persuasion of the audience he was addressing at his rally, he wasn’t talking to Black Americans. His campaign manager, Kellyann states, “all his rallies are open to the public and African Americans can attend.” This is particularly interesting when a man–with brown skin–of Native American heritage was removed from one of his rallies.

Reiterating his approach, “What the hell do you have to lose?” We lose the hell altogether that a Trump presidency represents and keep reaching for heaven–knowing there are no racists there. In recent news–a white man–claiming to belong to racist group–admitted to stabbing a black man when saw the man kissing a white woman. Not that their relationship was any of his business, but he took upon himself to try to kill a man simply because of his skin color. That’s what the foolish evoke in others–that’s what Trump ideology is creating in a society in which many of us had hoped was behind us. So, no–we don’t want Trump’s brand of anything and that will ring loud and clear on November 8th.

And this is how we recognize the foolish–when they do really stupid things–in a public forum and think they are believable. Love trumps hate and mockery!

Not Guilty!

Not Guilty!

Who can say, “I have kept my heart pure; I am clean and without sin”? Even small children are known by their actions, so is their conduct really pure and upright? Proverbs 20:9,11

No matter what we do or have done in the time we’ve been on the earth, none of us can say, we’ve never done anything wrong–unless we were physically incapable of acting on our own.

And that’s the key. If we are able to make decisions about anything, chances are–we’ve made a few wrong ones. Even small children–learning to walk and discover–find out the hard way that not everything should be put in one’s mouth or they shouldn’t touch everything they see. How much children are harmed by their discovery activities depends upon the parents’ detail to attention in keeping them safe and harmful events–limited.

So, if small children are known by their actions, how can we reasonably conclude that adults are not known by theirs?

When we promote hatred of other people simply because of their religious beliefs, skin color, or how they look–what does that say about us?

When we constantly promote the engagement of negative attacks upon others–what does that say about us?

When we think we are superior to others and totally discredit the thought processes of others–what does that say about us?

When we think we can chastise others and are never receptive to chastisement for what we do–what does that say about us?

We are known by what we do and say–and warrant greater judgment by God because we are adults–not children. The children–who do wrong–usually don’t know what they’re doing, but adults–especially those who claim to know Christ–have no excuse.

When we know The Lord and are cognizant of The Word and live it on a daily basis, we cannot say, “we’re not guilty” when we do wrong. And if we claim we’re not guilty of ever doing anything wrong–we lie and proclaim the devil is our father.

The one thing I will not be guilty of doing in this lifetime is saying, I’ve never done anything wrong. I hear Holy Spirit when He speaks and though I’m sometimes slow to obey, I do obey. I obey even if I don’t understand why He wants me to do certain things, but I know–if He says it–it can’t be wrong.

Therefore, I will continue to live like the King’s Kid that I am and hope to be known for being His–always willing to admit when I’m wrong and correct my behavior.

Unlike some–I cannot say, “Not Guilty” of ever being wrong, but I know that love–will make it right!

We Fit Together

We Fit Together

THE RIVER WALK

we fit together

But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it. (1 Corinthians 12:18)

Read: Esther 4:1-7:10, 1 Corinthians 12:1-26, Psalm 36:1-12, Proverbs 21:21-22

Relate: I love to read. I love to write. I enjoy preaching and teaching. I get really passionate about issues of social justice. If you want to get me riled up, feel free to start me talking about modern slavery or the need for the West to open up their doors wider for refugees. I am a sports fan. Since coming to Turkey I have narrowed my interests to Syracuse Basketball, the Yankees, NY Red Bull and Real Madrid for football. (Don’t call that American joke of a sport football around me) I wear a lot of Besiktas and will cheer for them but I can’t really call myself a true fan. I love worship music but most people do not love listening to me…

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The Heart of The Humble!

The Heart of The Humble!

“Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Do not add to his words, or he will rebuke you and prove you a liar. “Two things I ask of you, LORD; do not refuse me before I die: Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the LORD?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God. Do not slander a servant to their master, or they will curse you, and you will pay for it. Proverbs 30: 5-10 NIV

The heart of humble speaks!

Think for a moment about the speaker in this passage of scripture and then read the entire chapter. Agur–acknowledges his human failings and speaks to them to others.

He understands The Word of God and warns people about attempting to change it.

He understands that lies and falsehoods–however they are cloaked with deceptive language are not acceptable.

He understands that neither riches or poverty will make a difference in how God treats people.

He understands what most people–especially our politicians, don’t–the deceptive practices–on behalf of both parties–are not acceptable to God.

Though my thoughts this morning were not to make a political statement with the scriptural reading, this fits so well, especially in light of the so-called, “regret” uttered by a person who smirks as he speaks. No humility shown whatsoever and no real apology made about all the things he’s said. And in the next breath, focuses his attention on his opponent to talk about her.

What was even more amazing to me was to see his new campaign manager, lie with a straight face, but her eyes gave her away along with the false smile that didn’t come from within.

The humble heart–speaks from the heart–and the sincerity is seen and heard. The humble heart–when it knows a wrong has been committed, will apologize–specifically–to the wrongs done. The humble heart–seeks private as well public exoneration of any act in which they are sincerely sorry about and want to make amends. The humble heart–does not seek public attention for acts of charity or compassion. The humble heart–knows God and wants to please Him, not people or a political party.

That’s what the humble heart does!

When we see what people do–in the public eye–we know whether or not they  have read The Word, understand The Word, and live The Word. We know, by what we see and hear–who truly has a humble heart and who doesn’t.

Americans are smarter than some give us credit for. We know humility when we see it and when we don’t.

 

Where People Fit!

Where People Fit!

Whoever remains stiff-necked after many rebukes will suddenly be destroyed—without remedy. When the righteous thrive, the people rejoice; when the wicked rule, the people groan. Proverbs 29:1,2

Evildoers are snared by their own sin, but the righteous shout for joy and are glad.Proverbs 29:6

The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern.Proverbs 29:7

Mockers stir up a city, but the wise turn away anger.Proverbs 29:8

If a wise person goes to court with a fool, the fool rages and scoffs, and there is no peace. Proverbs 29:9

The bloodthirsty hate a person of integrity and seek to kill the upright. Proverbs 29:10

Fools give full vent to their rage, but the wise bring calm in the end. Proverbs 29:11

Throughout a person’s life, they go through stages–trying to determine where they fit in with life’s scheme of things for them.

I believe that however a person turns out–in life–begins with the foundation that is laid when they begin seeing themselves in the environment in which they find themselves. And as such, when people realize what their surroundings are and they can make a difference or simply accept it–they are in position to choose their end in life. Being born into a poverty-ridden environment doesn’t mean that’s how a person how to end their life. Being born into a gilded society where a person has everything done for them, doesn’t mean they will be a better person for it and many end up being morally corrupt.

What I’ve discovered about many (not all) people who had to work their way to what they wanted (nothing given to them except moral standards), they are more inclined to have a benefactor’s heart. They always want to help someone–without fanfare or recognition–just to make sure someone has a chance for a better life.

At the opposite end of this spectrum–those born with “silver/gold spoons” as feeding utensils, usually (not always) end up looking down on those who did not have what they have and have no compassion on those who do not what they were given at birth. They tend to go through life thinking the world owes them and they do for others when they can derive attention for it.

Looking at The Word of God, we see primarily how people fit into specific categories in our general society. Now, note these adjectives are not the labels earned at the beginning of life, but rather near the end of life.

The stiff-necked–after many rebukes–those who refuse to change their ways.

The righteous–those who do what is right according to God’s Word.

Evil-doers–those who plot and plan to do evil to others for their own gain.

The wicked–those who thrive on doing evil and enjoy it.

The wise–those who respect and adhere to wisdom from above.

The fool (stupid, idiot) those who have been taught what is right, but rebel against it to go their own way and keep finding themselves in a rut–never moving forward, always blaming others for their outcome since they refuse to accept responsibility for what they do or don’t do.

The bloodthirsty–those who do not care about the bloodshed of others in their quest to accomplish their own missions.

Thinking about what we do and why we do it–we should be able to find ourselves in one of these categories. Where do you fit?