Blessed Be…

3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7so that the tested genuineness of your faith–more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire–may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 8Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, 9obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
I Peter 1:3-9 ESV (emphasis added)

Racism

So, what’s the issue with racism? In the evenings, on my way home from school, I tune in to Scott Sloan out of Cincinnati. Racism in that city has always been such a huge issue, and lately again it has been the subject of a great deal of discussion — blacks accusing whites of racism, whites accusing blacks of the same. It seems just a little bit ridiculous to me.

What I don’t understand is why everyone is so sensitive. Granted, there are still people out there who discriminate against anyone who is not white. And it goes the other direction, too. But the real issue, to me, is that it’s even an issue at all. Sure, people are sinful and foolish and flawed and are going to make judgments based on stereotypes. And you know what? It’s a fact of life. So get over it!!!

We’re all part of the human race, right? So what if your skin is a different shade than mine? So what if your accent and mine don’t match? We’re all still created in God’s image. So what if we’re different, if we come from different cultures, different mindsets? Just because you look different doesn’t mean that you are so different. And frankly, there are people the same race as me who are far more different from me than someone is a different race and culture than I am. And there are people of different races who, except for the color of their skin or the accent in their voice, are virtually identical to me.

It’s so foolish and juvenile to get upset about things just because of skin tones. I wish people would just grow up…..

Revealing a Person’s True Nature

I have a theory concerning alcohol. I tend to think that alcohol is the ultimate truth detector. By that I mean that I think alcohol has the ability to show what a person is really like. People are so good at identifying traits and characteristics of themselves that are unacceptable, inappropriate, and undesirable and at putting up a facade to cover those traits up. People are very good at showing the face that they think people want to see, the one that is socially (and often even morally) acceptable in their culture, the one that makes people like them. However, introduce alcohol into that equation and the truth is soon revealed. Those barriers are broken down; the individual relaxes (alcohol is a depressant, by the way). The guards disappear, and the true essence of a person is revealed. Some people are shown to be fools — silly, idiotic. Others are shown to be full of anger and rage — getting into fights, yelling, screaming, shouting. All these things, I believe, are ever present in these people, but are protected and guarded away. But when they lose control to alcohol, they lose control of themselves, and the true heart of a man is laid open for all the world to see. And instinctively, I think other people know this. That’s why, when a guy gets drunk and gets angry at his friends over something, often times he sobers up to find that he has lost friends, because they know that, even though he was drunk, it was really the way he felt.

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I don’t drink, so I’ve never been drunk, but I’m pretty sure that if I ever did get drunk, I’d probably be one of those angry people….

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Inspired by the Wank & O’Brien Morning Show on RadioNOW, 93.1, Indianapolis, IN.

Strange

Observation for the day:

I find it interesting how, when I post something personal, it generates comments; yet, when I post something with the aim of stimulating thought, something actually worth talking about (aka, not my life), feedback is strangely absent.

(And no, this is NOT my way of begging for comments, merely making an observation.)

Problem of Evil

The problem of evil in the world has always been one that has tested men’s faith. And not just their faith in God. We’re also talking faith in people, faith in institutions, faith in the power of good to overcome evil, and so on and so forth. Yes, there is a LOT of evil in this world, a lot of it. But on the other side of the formula, there is also a lot of good. It is just that evil tends to be louder, more flamboyant. People notice it much more quickly than they do the good things, and they make a bigger deal out of it. Our media is partly to blame for this, of course, but so are we. I mean, how often do you find yourself gossiping with someone else about some big story you heard? You know, the one about the woman who left her husband because she was sleeping with an artist and decided she loved him more than her husband. Or the one about the husband who ran down his wife in their front yard with the family minivan. With their 9-year-old daughter in the passenger seat. Isn’t it so easy to talk about these things? Don’t they inspire a lot of conversation? Don’t they incite some of your baser passions? Don’t they excite you in some horrifying manner of disbelief and shock? And isn’t it so easy to become cynical about people, to question how a supposedly loving God can allow such horrendous things to happen to such (seemingly) good people? Isn’t it so easy to let such horror and pain and suffering — and yes, evil — quench our faith just a little? And then, one day, you find that you have become so hardened in your heart that you wonder why you had any faith to begin with. We have forgotten the good things. We have forgotten that there really is a God who loves and cares and who hurts to watch these things happen to the creatures made in his likeness. It was never meant to be like this. It was meant to be a perfect world. But God in His sovereignty did not want a mechanical love from His creation. So, He gave us free will, and we chose to forsake Him, accepting the consequences of that decision. And now sin and evil exist, for a season, and we must bear that. Soon, though, all will be made perfect again, and sin and death will be no more. Pain and suffering and sadness will be wiped away, and it will be like they never were. Until that day, we must walk strong and keep the faith and look ahead, as Paul said, on those things which are before us, forsaking those things which are behind us, plodding on to the goal which He has set before us, therein to be made into the image of the Son. So, keep the faith, my friends, and be encouraged. These hardships we face cannot last much longer, and then we shall enjoy a bliss unlike any other we have ever known.

Amen

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What can I say…. I was inspired….

Spiritual Gifts Inventory

Do you know what your spiritual gift is? If not, then you should find out, for it will help you to know how to aid the Body of Christ.

Follow this link to a website that will help you determine where your spiritual gift(s) is, so that you may begin using it for the glory of God. (Follow the navigation to the individual spiritual gifts inventory.) It is 4 pages, 108 questions, and takes about 20 minutes to complete.

Battle Lines

The battle lines are clearly drawn — two sides, two agendas, one aching pain. On the one side, the old man. On the other, the new man. Some days it is merely a squabble, on others World War III. On the one hand, fierce, intense depression of the black hole variety, threatening to suck my soul from my body, to drain all the color from the world. On the other hand, a gentle, nagging hope, so soft and quiet that I hardly realize that it is there sometimes. Here, a desire to indulge in fleshly pleasures, to feed those pet carnal appetites. But then here, a craving for godliness, righteousness, a relationship with my Lord that actually means something and pours out onto others. This, laziness. That, a desire to work for what is good, knowing that it will involve the deepest pain I have perhaps ever experienced.

The battle lines are drawn. And I am at an impasse.

His Suffering

It’s funny…. I just received an email from my younger brother. In it, he included a journal entry that I had shared with a bunch of people a little over four years ago. I had been think meditating on Christ’s death and what He went through. And in light of Mel Gibson’s recent release of The Passion of Christ and the upcoming Easter season, my brother felt challenged by those words from the past and felt let to share them again with a number of people, myself included. And again, I was challenged with the thought contained within those few lines. And so I share them with you….. God bless….

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Friday, Februrary 18, 2000

We weep and sorrow with the pain and loss that others experience, particularly those we love and care about most. We sympathize when they are injured or undergo surgery, and we cry when they lose someone they love. We feel the frustration of a friend’s lay-off from their job, we share the burden of depression when things don;t go well, and we share the plethora of other emotions and burdens of those we cherish. But when was teh last time I wept for the pain and loss that God felt when His Son came to the earth? When was the last time I wept because God gave up Heaven to become a helpless baby? When was the last time I shed tears over the wounds that my Savior suffered in his hands, his feet, his side, his head, and his back? When was the last time I cried because God the Father could not look down on God the Son for a time because of the burden of my sins that he bore on His back? When was the last time I genuinely wept because of the ultimate sacrifice that anyone can give? WHen was the last time that I loved my God that much? I can’t help but shed tears of joy and rejoice right down to the very core of my heart and the deepest recesses of my soul when I think of the love that flowed upon my head through that act of total selflessness. I can’t help but weep with gladness that I will see my Lord on the throne of Daivd, seated in the highest of the heavens, to reign forever and ever with righteousness, turth , and love. I can’t help but cry when I think that my God will one day be declared the victor and will forever destroy sin and evil. My entire being rejoices and my soul loudly proclaims worship and praise to the One who loves me so much that He sacrifices so much for me, an imperfect creature that does not know how to return that love, so that I may spend an eternity with Him, to love Him and to praise Him and to know Him. Glory be to the Lamb that was slain. Honor and praise be to the Father, who gave His son to be the propitiation for my sins. Mere words cannot adequately proclaim the honor you deserve, Lord, nor can my actions, which are flawed, make up for the lack. Oh God, cleanse my heart and purify my wicked ways. Make me into a servant fit to bear your likeness. Amen, amen, and amen.

But He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon him, and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way, and the Lord has laid upon him the inquity of us all.
Is. 53:5-6

Devil’s Advocate

I have this ‘annoying’ little habit of always playing devil’s advocate…. well, maybe not always, but I do it quite often. Whenever someone takes one position in a conversation, I will frequently argue for the other side (fair representation, anyone?). Why do I do this, you ask? Good question, and I’m glad you asked that one. It’s not to be irksome, believe me, at least not intentionally (I suppose there could be some Freudian logic to it, somewhere, buried down deep, but I suspect not). Mostly, I think I do it in order to make sure that all aspects of the topicslashissue gets covered. Pull out the salient details. Avoid the groupthink effect and the like. Remove the blinders from ones eyes and open up the conversation to more possibilities. (And no, this is NOT necessarily being open-minded. Just covering all the bases. Because open minds tend to stay open (BAD!), and eventually I settle down on one position and stay there. Definitely ‘close-minded’ and ‘narrow.’ But also Biblical, I believe, at least to an extent. But that’s a topic for another post on another day.) I just like to make sure that everyone has thought of as many of the possibilities and explanations as possible. Experience empathy. Avoid judgmentalism.

And as a Christian, I believe it is my responsibility to encourage others to think more globally, and hence, more Christly. More compassionately, with love and grace. So consider this: consider that you may actually be wrong on a stance long enough to consider the issue more thoroughly. Challenge the status quo, and don’t take your position on an issue for granted, just because you have thought this way your whole life and so has your family.

Jack-of-All-Trades, Master of Words