Wednesday, August 29, 2007

By Chance

On my son’s blog, he raised the thought that sometimes we question why God didn’t do something when the true question should be why we didn’t do something. I came across this in my reading today and I thought it went well with Phil’s thoughts.

How many are the sufferers who have fallen amongst misfortunes along the wayside of life! “By chance” we come that way; chance, accident, Providence, has thrown them in our way; we see them from a distance, like the Priest, or we come upon them suddenly, like the Levite; our business, our pleasure, is interrupted by the sight, is troubled by the delay; what are our feelings, what our actions towards them? “Who is thy neighbor?” It is the sufferer, wherever, whoever, whatsoever he be. Wherever thou hearest the cry of distress, wherever thou seest any one brought across thy path by the chances and changes of life (that is, by the Providence of God), whom it is in thy power to help,–he, stranger or enemy though he be,–he is thy neighbor.

Arthur Penrhyn Stanley.
From Daily Strength for Daily Needs
- Mary Tileston

Philip

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Get Up and Run

There was a picture in yesterday’s newspaper of the woman who won the woman's division of the Pikes Peak Marathon. She fell three times on the way down. What mattered wasn’t that she fell but that she got back up. And she not only finished the race but won. She had cuts and bruises on her shoulders, back, arms and legs. She had lived in her car all summer while training for the marathon. She kept going after the three falls because she decided this would be a "no fear" race.

We are going to fall. That is reality. 1 John 1:8-9 says: If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. The presumption is that we are going to sin. It's not an excuse and we shouldn't abuse grace but that's the truth. Get up, confess your sin (again), let him wipe you off and cleanse you and then go on with no fear or condemnation. Finish the race.

It also helps to have some friends running alongside and standing along the path to cheer you on.

Philip

Monday, August 20, 2007

Samson Society

www.samsonsociety.com

I came across this group several weeks ago. I am intrigued by it. Here is a description of the society:

The Samson Society is a fellowship of Christian men who are serious about authenticity, community, humility and recovery - serious, but not grave. Samson guys are traveling-companions on a great spiritual adventure, not grim pilgrims on a death march to personal holiness. We challenge each other daily to believe the incredible news that God actually knows us, loves us, and has restored us to himself. As we follow Christ together, we find our lives progressively interrupted by righteousness, peace and joy.

We are not a church.
We are simply one extension of the church universal.

We are not an "accountability group."
Instead of living our lives separately and reporting (or lying) about our progress, we try to live our lives together.

We are not a "men's group."
Okay, so there are no women, but that doesn't make us a men's group, does it? Please. Most of us have had it up to here with men's groups.

We are not a 12-step group.
Sure, most of us have been trapped in some kind of compulsive activity, but our addictions do not define us, and we do not segregate our membership by behavior.

We are not perfect.
Not even close. We are broken individuals, but in our fractured fellowship we find a foretaste of God's approaching re-creation.

For more information about the society, listen to the message
I, Samson.

I read the book by one of the founders called Samson and the Pirate Monks. It deepened my hunger to walk like this with other men.

I want to see a chapter formed here in Denver. Anybody with me?

Philip

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Lust Part 2

So here are my thoughts as I have pondered more this week and also reflected on the comments made on Lust.

Through the years I have thought about my inability to control what I eat. In general, I am a very disciplined person. I go to bed at a good time, I get up early enough to have time with God and get to work on time. I am a creature of habit for good and bad. But it has really bothered me that my discipline doesn’t work in the area of food control.

It seems dumb that I can control what I look at with my eyes but not what my mouth wants.

This week has been eye opening to me. Just confessing that I have a problem has been a good start. I have also been reading some things that have helped put the puzzle together as well.

For some guys their sin seems so big that they are afraid to confess it. Mine seemed so small that I was afraid to confess it. As I understand it now, I know it is not small. It symbolizes that I am controlled by something other than God.

I am learning that I can’t do anything good by myself. There is no good thing that dwells in me. If there is something good, it is from God not me. He wants to be glorified in my weakness. When I am weak then He can be strong. Or should I say, when I realize I am weak then He can be strong.

I am as weak as the guy on the prowl for prostitutes. We both may be on east Colfax – he looking for human flesh, me for a hamburger. We both need Jesus. We both need the power that God can give. We both fail when we try to do it by ourselves.

Philip

Monday, August 13, 2007

Lust

I thought about it last night. Somehow, I need to stop. I know it’s not good for me.

I was talking to a friend on the phone this morning about another issue and this problem came to mind.

I finished my second job for the day and where do I find myself. I’m driving down East Colfax. If you are not from Denver then you may not know that east Colfax is known as a seedy part of town. As soon as I turned on the street the thought comes to mind. I want to go to one of those places. The battle is now front and center. Do I fight or just give in. How much do I want to change? Am I really sick of this or am I just playing around? The places are everywhere. I think about getting off this street. I want to turn on Monaco but a left turn is not allowed. I think how ridiculous this is, I should be able to go down the street and not give in. All sort of options are going through my mind.

Why do I have this problem? I look at other guys and I can tell that it never bothers them; maybe something else but not this. I remember that was part of what I was thinking about while talking to my friend earlier in the morning: I don’t have his struggles and he doesn’t have mine.

Here is my problem: I love fast food. Even when I have had my lunch from home, it is hard to pass by the fast food place. The result is my health is compromised. I weigh much more than I should. I would guess 40–60 pounds. I know it is not good but it’s hard to pass up.

I am serious enough about this that I am writing it down. I want to go on the record. I think I probably need to set up some accountability; someone who will question how I am doing.

As I think about this, I know it may seem insignificant to some but it is big to me. Is my lust for fast food different from the person who has sexual lust? The outcome is different but the battle is the same. I’m doing something that is not good for me and it’s hard to stop.

Is it something I can overcome? Will the day come when the pull is gone? Will I be satisfied with my healthy, sensible lunch from home? Will super size bring repulsive thoughts rather than thoughts of satiation?

Will I grow in discipline that will affect other areas of my life as well?

Philip

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Don't Be Jealous of Your Christian Brothers

From my morning reading

The Devil once decided to have a yard sale. He had too many devices and techniques with which to defeat people. Up went hatred on the dealer's table. Rebellion and drunkenness next followed. Then vice after vice was put on the table to be sold. But as one of the Devil's minions placed jealousy on the table, Satan quickly snatched it away. "I can't sell this," he exclaimed. "It's my most valuable weapon!"

There's a lot of truth in that statement. Jealousy is indeed one the Devil's most valuable weapons (see Gal. 5:20). He uses it to discourage people. He gets them to focus on what others have rather than being content with their own possessions.

Jealousy is envy's twin and hostility's first cousin. Jealousy gets people to think thus: Just look at Jim there. He has everything, and he didn't even have to work very hard to get it! But look at me. I've worked hard all my life. And what do I have to show for it? Nothing! I should have what Jim has.

Don't fall into this trap. Life is not fair, and the world does not owe you anything. Some people have more than we do, and they can do more than we can. But remember, others and their possessions are not your primary concern. Rather, becoming more godly should be your foremost priority (see 1 Tim. 4:8 ). Therefore, don't make a bid on jealousy at the Devil's yard sale.

Dear Lord, please help me not to be jealous of others, especially my fellow Christian brothers. Amen.

From God’s Man
A Daily Devotional Guide to Christlike Character
Edited by: Don M. Aycock

Saturday, August 4, 2007

No One to Help

From my morning reading

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him--a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

Several years ago there was a television commercial that had an elderly person acting out this line, "I have fallen and I can't get up." This stirring line was intended to remind us that we all need someone to help us in times of need. For example, in many areas of the country where senior adults reside, they have a "friend call" program. It's designed to have someone check daily on the elderly citizens to account for all of them.

Men need friends who will check on them and to whom they are accountable for their daily actions. Ecclesiastes 4:9 -12 reminds us that "two are better than one." When one must make a decision or keep a commitment, two men can hold each other accountable for their actions. Men also need other men as friends with whom they can discuss the concerns and issues of life. Remember that even the Lone Ranger had a partner who traveled with him and with whom he worked to fight the outlaws of their day.

Father, please help me to be a friend to other men I know. May I also allow other men to befriend me. Amen.

From God’s Man
A Daily Devotional Guide to Christlike Character
Edited by: Don M. Aycock

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