I Wouldn't Want to Go through THAT Again ... but

If you have ever looked back on something you have gone through that was horrible and said, "I wouldn't EVER want to go through that again, but I am glad for what came out of it," I think you are on to what both Paul and James wrote about.
James penned those words I am not certain how to apply. "Count it all joy." I'd love to! Then come the words, "when you meet trials of various kinds." Okay, sure. What?!
Somehow the knowing is supposed to help: "Knowing that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness." I like being steadfast. It is like that picture of the lighthouse being bashed over and over again by the waves, and yet it remains still beaming for all those who are looking toward it.
Paul writes about that knowing too. Interesting to note that you cannot know something unless you have been through it. Some of us "know" things very well. Some of us live those things on a daily basis. Some of those things include suffering…

Glorification In Your Life Today

Have you ever been commended for anything recently? Perhaps you’ve needed a recommendation for a job and had to seek out your previous employers.
Commendations are commendable, and recommendations are nice when they are favorable, but are commendations and recommendations still needed today?
Should they be sought out?
What if they didn’t need to be?
What would THAT look like?
Paul opens a paragraph to his letter to a group of believers living in Corinth about this. They apparently lived by commendations and recommendations.
We read in 2 Corinthians 3:1-11, Paul’s opening question for the Corinthians is about commendation and if he and his co-traveling friends needed recommendations from others for them to gain a level of respect in their eyes. Paul is telling those believers that they themselves are Paul’s testimony, but of what?The work Paul and friends have done in their community. Paul reaches beyond the temporary world we live in to the eternal world that is brought into this one by…

The Way in the Manger

This time of year seems to come faster each year. I think that is the definition of aging. I love symbolism and the messages they communicate and this time of year is full of them.
Take the manger. Whether it was a feeding trough of wood, or a hewn rock to hold feed, or whatever you imagine, the couple made due with what they had.
Do you think couples are still doing this today?
Joseph and Mary were supposed to be met by family who were to house them because … they were family. Something always seemed strange to me about this story—no room in the inn. What? Did they think because Joseph took an “adulterous’ woman as his wife they couldn’t suspend judgment to help them? WTC! The expecting couple were coming from Nazareth because of the stupid governmentally imposed census and you can’t house them? Some family you are …
Do you think couples are still dealing with this today?
Angels are the spoilers of this judgmental attitude. They give the message of the Messiah’s birth to stinking shepher…

Just Because You Think It...

I've worked with a man who told me that if you think it you might as well say it. 

I disagree.

Thinking is done for many reasons. It leads to acting, but sometimes it doesn't. 

I would call that "contemplation" which is a very important skill these days. It is in the area of contemplation where I believe the Bible has much to say. 

We think about yesterday (memory, how we lived, consequences of decisions made); 
We think about today (awareness, living life, making decisions); 
We can think about tomorrow (dream, believe, hope, plan, what decisions will we make?).

It is very important what we think on because it affects our lives, how to live them well and remain healthy.

After all, the greatest commandment speaks about what we love God with = ALL our minds.

Much of our thinking comes from trial and error and having a standard for comparing. 
What are some other benefits of thinking well? 
What are the consequences of not thinking well?
Other verses to meditate on: Phil 4:8, Rom …

Prideful Students Make for Horrible Teachers

Below is a post I made to my fifth online class I am currently teaching. I felt it necessary because the thoughts have been building up within me. I know what it is like to have become a learner again. I try to keep this mentality in life: with my wife, my kids, my coworkers, my students, my fellow Jesus followers, and with those in the world. Remaining a life-long learner is so important, even critical.

I would love your response. Pick a point of contention and give me some feedback or even pushback. Either way, I want to learn from you.

This could be you. One of the things I remember in going back to school for my 2nd masters and then my doctorate is the feeling of angst in that first class. It took a couple sessions for me to remember that I was not a teacher but a student. I needed to come down from my being a teacher for many years and sit again with a humble mind and heart to learn from those who have given their lives to study and know what it is t…

You Get What You Sacrificed For

A good marriage takes sacrifice.

This is a key principle that I have recently put into words after 20+ years of marriage.

I was recently talking with Tyler, my former roommate from college, romanticizing about the spiritual experiences of the past and wishing for more activity of God in my life today. We talked on this line for about an hour, but something he said to me has stuck with me ever since. "You got what you died for."

Tyler shared with me about a church service he attended where Rev. Helm was speaking and the people had a visitation from God in a very remarkable way. If you know anything about moments of spiritual stirrings, or of being thrilled by the Spirit, or of having your own personal revival in a service, then you will understand what I am about to say. A moment like this broke out in that service and when it came and left, Tyler said that Rev. Helm made the statement, "You got what you died for."

I know I could bemoan and bewail the glory days of …

Knowing as Assurance in Faith Secures Our Hearts in Christ

Romans 8:1-17 starts with the words, "there is now no condemnation." That sounds like good news. This passage tells me that it is not God's plan to condemn me. If I feel condemned, it is not because of God. Instead, God made a way for me to be out from under the law of sin and death that brings fear (of the unknown).  It is God's plan for me to know He does not condemn me, and that He has set me free from sin/death/fear/the unknown. How? He has a plan. God's plan is to help me to fulfill another law He has in mind: the law of righteousness.
God will enable me (through the Spirit) to walk in this new way--a way by the Spirit--a way of life and peace, the way of righteousness. It is the only way to please Him and He actively guides me on this way to do so. God's plan is that He wants:
-me to know that the Spirit of God dwells in me and I belong to Him!
-to reanimate my body by the Holy Spirit to live before others to show them what living according to His law …