Considering Admiration!

Considering Admiration!

Free yourself, like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter, like a bird from the snare of the fowler. Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest. Proverbs 6:5-8 NIV

We often choose people we set on a pedestal–those we greatly admire and then when their imperfections and flaws are exposed, we get angry and sometimes, we rebel by interjecting venom that poisons us and all around us.

Not all of us can be right at the same time in the same place, but we can be righteous in all we do. If we only do what is right–at all times–we never have to consider what happens if we do something wrong because we won’t. Sound complicated? We live complex lives and throughout our journey, we make decisions based upon the information and experiences we have at hand. If our experiences and our information is limited, our views may seem a bit short-sighted, but when we broaden our experiences and gain greater access to information, the likelihood that our views will change are incredible.

For instance, when we were in kindergarten and learned all we needed to know about life–the experience was limited and the information provided was at a level that our undeveloped minds could handle. We thought recess was the greatest part of the day and for some, it was the storytelling hour. Every person in the class came away with different perceptions of what kindergarten was about, but we learned: to share, wait our turns, be respectful, and to move to the right when traveling–walking down a hall or driving. And many of us learned to be considerate and most of us–had a great deal of admiration for  our teacher. Unless the teacher did something really wrong–we admired them and remembered.

As we navigated middle school and high school and college–we discovered there was so much more to learning and being in a classroom that we began to think (and not just swallow everything told to us) and eventually–our views about things we learned in kindergarten changed. It’s called–maturing–and it’s a part of life that most of us enjoy.

But then there are those who–though past the age of 50–still act like they are still in kindergarten. The saddest part of all is there are people who admire–the kindergarten mentality which makes one wonder–if the admirer–ever matured. And it is these people who concern me and how they evaluate admirable qualities in a person.

So, when we express admiration for a person or an ideology–perhaps we should consider the source of our admiration and evaluate our own maturity if we admire others who are immature and act as though they are still in kindergarten.

The ant–a tiny creature with a tiny brain, but obviously smarter than those of us with a larger capacity to think, evaluate, and assess and we don’t. What exactly is there to admire about a non-thinking person? Absolutely nothing–unless we happen to be an ant. Let’s choose to admire Jesus and become more like Him!

 

Mature Disagreement!

Mature Disagreement!

Let all who are spiritually mature agree on these things. If you disagree on some point, I believe God will make it plain to you. But we must hold on to the progress we have already made. Dear brothers and sisters, pattern your lives after mine, and learn from those who follow our example. For I have told you often before, and I say it again with tears in my eyes, that there are many whose conduct shows they are really enemies of the cross of Christ. Philippians 3:15-18 NIV

As much as I’m tempted to preach this message, Paul has already done a better job than I’ll ever do because if we who profess to believe God, do The Word, there is no other example for us to follow other than Him.

The concept is applicable to any situation we encounter–in our homes, in our communities, in our churches, in our government–no matter where we are–we must learn to disagree, agreeably–without hatred governing our thoughts or our deeds, but we simply acknowledge the points of disagreement–open the door for discussion and find solutions to problems–we don’t create problems because of our disagreement.

Disagreement doesn’t mean that we ignite or fuel hatred to draw others to our side by name-calling or taunting chants–that really only emphasize insecurity and immaturity.

While we have riled up hatred for one candidate by chanting erroneous thoughts of “lock her up” we have seen a deluge of defamatory literature, logos, and other paraphernalia demonstrating a “huge” lack of maturity of the part of anyone participating in the malaise of insanity.

And then–there is the “call” for foreign powers to conduct espionage against a political candidate that sounds like treason to me. The fact that Trump made the statement (and later back-pedaled with a lame excuse) is enough to make many wonder what he will do with the security briefings he’ll sit in on. Will he sell what he learns to the highest bidder? Someone needs to get a muzzle for this man before he has missiles pointing at us from all directions.

I haven’t strayed from my point of mature disagreement; I’m simply making a point as to why we must look at the level of maturity of any candidate attempting to do anything. I’m not alone in my assessment of the situation and though my sphere of influence is limited, I have to speak to issues that bear no resemblance to a person knowing Jesus Christ and certainly not having a relationship with Him. “Out of the abundance of the heart (whatever resides inside a person) the mouth speaks!”

I pray that no one (in their right mind) will ever consider Donald Trump an example as to how we should live or treat people. Trump is not a savior and he cannot fix anything–he cannot even fix his impulses to say foolish things.

I’m not in total agreement  (there are some points of disagreement) with Hillary Clinton or the progressive movement, but I’d rather see her in the White House–someone who cares about people–rather than a self-deluded person–who only thinks about himself, leading this country.

Everyone has a choice to make and I would urge all to exercise maturity and wisdom in deciding who can best handle being the leader of this country–caring about all Americans!

How Grown-Ups Act!

Even small children are known by their actions, so is their conduct really pure and upright? Proverbs 20:11 NIV

In the midst of all the noise and clamor from the presidential candidates can we/do we hear the voice of any grown-ups? Do we see grown-up behavior or do we see children acting on impulses?

Children are very impulsive–it is the nature of their being–primarily because the frontal lobe of their brain is not fully developed. That development usually occurs somewhere between the age of 23-and 25. However, it would appear–even though our candidates are far beyond the age of 25, that frontal lobe development has been delayed–based on the impulse responses we see in them.

Just once–I’d like to see a political campaign unfold revealing specific policies and ideas from each candidate rather than personal attacks. The personal attacks–bringing up a person’s past that has nothing to do with the current situation–is how children respond to each other.

This is what I’d like to see (and based upon discussions with others, I’m not alone):

I’d like to see a candidate who is so secure in who they are and their capabilities, they would have no need to attack others.

I’d like to see adults respectfully disagree with others without resorting to childish tactics–like name-calling.

I’d like to see adults comport themselves as grown-ups–using grown-up vocabulary and demeanor.

We have spent so much time in our educational system–dumbing down that we hear it coming out of the mouths of those who think they should be in charge of running the country.

So, if children are known by their actions, can we say the same about the grown-ups? Actions do indeed speak loud and paint a clearer picture of who a person is and what we can expect from them. Now, are their actions pure and upright?

A Stronghold in Times of Trouble!

“The Lord reigns forever; He has established His throne for judgment. He rules the world in righteousness and judges the peoples with equity. The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know Your name trust in You, for You, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek You.” (Psalm 9:7-10 NIV).

If the Lord reigns–not just in the atmosphere–but in our hearts, the world will know peace. Where there is no peace, we do not acknowledge who He is and do not allow Him to govern our lives. If He is not governing our lives–we fall prey to the influence of the enemy and allow his influence to reign in our lives.

But we don’t have to. The Word tells us to “give no place for the devil” and we should heed the Word. But what does that mean?

It means that when we know certain situations or people can open the door for the devil to step in–we should avoid them. Now, there The Word tells us there is no temptation that can confront us that He has not made a way of escape. The escape route that many ignore–is the wisdom to avoid the situation in the first place. If we do not place ourselves or allow others to put us in a position where we can be tempted, we effectively keep the devil’s influence out of our lives.

But when we don’t–heed wise instruction and warnings–the devil’s influence does not creep in–it walks into a situation because we have opened the door. When the devil does what the devil does–influencing others to do what is wrong–who is the guilty party? Is it the one who succumbed to the influence or the one who created the situation by opening the door?

People who have overcome addictions of all types, have nothing to prove to others and especially those who are trying to influence their judgment and behavior. It is not all right for anyone who suffers from addiction to put themselves in harm’s way, nor should they put themselves into a position to be influenced by others to do so. When we do things that we know are contrary to Holy Spirit’s influence, we cannot say, “this is just a test.” No, that is just foolishness.

We would not put a known thief in a room full of valuables and leave them alone, expecting them not to take anything. That’s not faith, it’s foolishness. The same is true of anything we value–respect, integrity, honor–all should be more valuable than things, and yet we risk allowing the enemy to influence what we do, when we think we know more than God.

The Bible tells us that no one should say when they are tempted, they are tempted by God, but understand we are tempted by our own lusts. We are tempted because of pride and egos and when we allow pride and ego to get in the way of wisdom and making wise decisions, we have no one to blame, but ourselves.

And when temptation wins–the least we can do is to acknowledge how wrong we were in allowing the situation to exist in the first place and not blame others. This is not to say we should condone wrong, but we must accept responsibility for any wrong that occurs and set things right.

Human beings are not God and cannot know everything, but when we allow Holy Spirit to lead us in all things, we limit the opportunities for the devil’s influence to operate and manage to maintain peace in our lives. The Lord is a stronghold in times of trouble and when we see trouble coming–we must cry out a warning and seek the refuge of God. If we don’t heed the warnings–the stain of guilt is on us–and we need to get right with God while we have the opportunity to do so.

No Holy Spirit guidance–no peace in homes or lives or nations. With Him–as our counselor and comforter–allowing Him to speak into our lives–we have peace with all we meet.

Mature Agreement!

“Let all who are spiritually mature agree on these things. If you disagree on some point, I believe God will make it plain to you.” (Philippians 3:15 NLT)

In Paul’s letter to the church at Philippi, Paul implores the people to think about the things he was sharing with them and understanding that some would not agree, encouraged them to see God in the areas in which they would disagree. He understood that those who were spiritually mature–already saturated with Holy Spirit understanding would immediately recognize what He was saying–aligned with God’s Plan.

With all of the interpretations and translations of the Bible and denominational doctrines that man is creating, who can be classified as the “spiritually mature”? Do we handle disagreement by allowing Holy Spirit to lead us or do we simply disconnect with other Believers and create yet another doctrine and then attempt to make people believe we’re the only ones who are right?

Like Paul, I cannot claim to have achieved all wisdom pertaining to God or perfection, but I do seek Him daily for understanding of His Word and for direction of my life here on earth. If I am not willing to live according to His Plan, then my living is in vain and will not accomplish all that He has planned for me, right now–to benefit others in bringing them into better understanding of who He is.

No, I’m not perfect–I manage to screw something up at least once a day and when I do–I’m quick to own it and go back to Him when I know I did not hear Him clearly. When people disagree with me or I disagree with them, I research an issue–whatever it is and then “send the link to them” to support my position or theirs. When I’m wrong–I’m wrong. When they’re wrong–it’s really no big deal. This is how we handle disagreement as spiritually mature believers. And if we cannot find the information needed, we simply agree to disagree. No need to disconnect the relationship because of disagreement.

But there are those who Paul describes in the next few verses and I’m sure we’ve all met some of them. The people who whose “conduct” demonstrates their lack of understanding and because of their lack of understanding, their fleshly desires have become their god and they do whatever they want to do and then attempt to get those who know to do the right to convert to doing their “right thing” still claiming to be a follower of Christ. Paul says they are headed for destruction. Do we see people–proclaiming to be followers of Christ–headed for destruction today?

Whether we believe all that is said in the Bible really does not matter in the end. His Word is true in spite of our belief or unbelief and He does not need our approval or permission to accomplish all He has planned. Those who have been faithful to God’s Word shall reap their reward and those who have not–will reap their reward. We cannot make people believe what God has said nor can we make them live according to His Word. We can–live our lives according to God’s Word in front of them–demonstrating His love and mercy towards all. After that–what they choose to believe will determine their fate, not ours.

Now would be a good time for a bit of deep introspection–one of those moments when we should examine ourselves rather than inspecting others. Are we spiritually mature or are we still infants–throwing tantrums when others do not agree with us?

Lord, help us to see us as we truly are and if there is anything in us that is not of You, remove it and replace with wisdom and understanding and greater love for all humanity.