Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Wholesome Speech

One of my biggest problems in life is my speech. Many times I say things I shouldn't or I say things in a mean, cutting way. I have improved through the years but I still have a way to go.

It's something I ask God to help me with. I want to speak words that are a blessing.

I came across the following in my morning reading. It was included in a discussion of the greek word that is translated good. What stood out to me was the instruction on good speech.

With that in mind, using the meaning of agathos as our guide, let us test ourselves daily by asking a series of questions:

1. Is what I am about to say or do benevolent? Is it kind, compassionate, and caring?
2. Is what I am about to say or do profitable, beneficial, and useful? Will it accomplish something? Is it constructive or destructive? Will it help or hinder? Is it positive or negative?
3. Is what I am about to say or do excellent? Is it just good or eminently good, the best thing to say or do?
4. Is what I am about to say or do virtuous? Is it righteous, honorable, and moral? Does it avoid suggestiveness, vulgarity, and crudeness?
5. Is what I am about to say or do suitable? Does it fit the moment? Is it proper? Is it appropriate?

From: A Word for the Day
Key Words from the New Testament
May this become true in my life.

Philip

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Time for Change?

How would you like to be in Eliot Spitzer's shoes right now?

How would you like to be living the nightmare of having your deepest secrets revealed on the front page of the nation's newspapers?

What's your secret? We all have them and most of us share something else - we don't have a place where we can be honest.

Let's admit it, most churches or men's groups are not safe. It shouldn't be that way but it is. It's true even in the small things. Where can I talk about what is really going on in my life? Where can I admit that I need help as a parent, that my marriage is messed up and I'm worried how I am going to pay the bills.

Or how about the other stuff? What about those bad habits? What about that thing you just can't shake? What about that stuff that is threatening your very existence? Deep down you want help but the fear of what will happen if someone else knows, keeps you suffering in silence and defeat has become the norm.

Or, maybe this isn't you but it's someone you know. You have a friend who is stuck. He wants to go the right way but just can't get moving or keep moving.

I offer hope. There is a path out of the mess. There are other guys on their way who would welcome more traveling companions.

The Samson Society is a group of men who are learning what true friendship and authenticity is all about.

It's not a place of finger pointing or where some guys exercise superiority other others. It's a safe, confidential place where you can begin the walk you've heard about or maybe had once.

In Denver we meet on Saturday night for about an hour then go hang out at a restaurant. For some of us, it's become the highlight of our week. Our lives are changing and we are becoming the men we want to be.

For more information, check out the web pages for the Denver Samson Society or the national Samson Society.

Philip

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

STD rampant among teenagers

The CDC announced that at least one in four teenage American girls has a sexually transmitted disease. Only about half of the girls in the study acknowledged having sex. This could be because many don’t include intimate behavior such as oral sex. Thank Bill Clinton for that. Of the girls that admitted to having sex, the infection rate was 40 percent.

The proaborts and the birth control lobby claim that the problem is from teaching abstinence. It sounds to me like the problem is the failure of teaching abstinence effectively.

The condom evangelists claim that the disease problem would be solved with a great condom give away. Safe sex has been their mantra.

The facts are contrary. The following is from the book Epidemic, written by Meg Meeker M.D.

The conclusion of one study was that while male latex condoms could reduce the transmission of HIV/AIDS, there was not enough evidence to determine that they were effective in reducing the risk of most other sexually transmitted diseases.

Another study showed that “condoms have no impact on the risk of sexual transmission of human papilloma virus (HPV) in women.”
Looking at the facts leads me to conclude that the message of safe sex has been a scam. The science shows that condoms do not protect one from disease. It makes me wonder about the motives of the condom evangelists. Could they be completely ignorant of research that contradicts their position or do they have social revolt as their goal.

Philip

Here is the CDC press release.

See my previous post on this subject. STD Epidemic
.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Eliot Spitzer

Eliot Spitzer loses more than a loaf of bread.

In case you don't know Eliot Spitzer is the governor of New York. He was busted in a prostitution sting.

A man can hire a prostitute for the price of a loaf of bread, but adultery will cost him all he has. Proverbs 6:26. I guess this was before inflation yet the end cost remains the same.

He who commits adultery lacks sense; he who does it destroys himself. He will get wounds and dishonor, and his disgrace will not be wiped away. Proverbs 6:32-33

For a prostitute will bring a man to poverty, and an adulteress may cost him his very life. Can a man hold fire against his chest and not be burned? Can he walk on hot coals and not blister his feet? So it is with the man who commits adultery with another's wife. He shall not go unpunished for this sin. Proverbs 6:26-29

Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. 1 Corinthians 6:18

When I hear stories of high priced call girls, my mind says, “no sex is worth that much.” I think what we see is the cost of sin and bondage. Who in their right mind would do what Eliot Spitzer or Ted Haggard did? So much is risked for so little gain.

That is what sin does to us. It starts out easy and cheap but once it gets a grip on us, the cost skyrockets. Jobs are lost, money is spent, shame overshadows our life, trust is lost, families are broken, disease consumes our body, we do what was once unimaginable, and it’s never as good as it was in the beginning. Usually we are repulsed by our actions yet we can’t get away. We become a slave to the cruel taskmaster of sin.

I have had a bad taste in my mouth for many tears when it comes to Eliot Spitzer. My first remembrance of him was back in 2002 when as Attorney General of New York he led a rabid assault on Crisis Pregnancy Centers. He has continued with a radical proabortion agenda. Recently he has championed the Reproductive Health and Privacy Protection Act. According to Jill Stanek here is what it would do in New York:

“It would wipe out all abortion restrictions in NY. It would force doctors to commit abortions, force all hospitals - even Catholic - to commit abortion, force insurance companies to cover abortion, force employers to purchase abortion coverage, authorize late-term abortions for "health" reasons, authorize non-doctors to commit abortions, allow the over-the-counter sale of the morning-after pill to minors, and more.”
Yesterday, the day he was exposed in a prostitution sting, he was scheduled to speak at the Family Planning Advocates 31st Annual Conference. It was their National Day of Appreciation for Abortion Providers. I’m sure they missed him.

I would be glad to see Eliot Spitzer out of politics. Despite his hopes, he will probably have to resign. He has had his eye on the White House, I hope this brings that quest to an end.

I am sad to see his fall as a human being. It would be easy to demonize him because I don’t like his politics but he is no different from any other person in bondage. Of course as an enemy of Jesus, he has little hope of reform but we can hope that maybe like the apostle Paul he could become a friend of Christ.

We would do well to consider 1 Corinthians 10:12, Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. Are there small sins we tolerate? What doors have we left open? Where is the devil seeking a foothold in our life?

Remember these words:

Sin will take you places where you don't want to go.
Sin will cost you more than you want to pay.
Sin will keep you longer than you want to stay.
Philip

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Wisdom


I have been thinking about wisdom the past few days. What got me thinking about it was an experience where smart and wise conflicted.

I have some friends who are very smart. They talk and think about things that would melt my mind. The husband has the kind of job that he can’t even explain to mere mortals. I would have to follow his explanation with a dictionary. They have the kind of smarts that translates into high income. They are very successful and very nice people. I like them a lot.

Recently they made a decision, prompted by their smarts that I thought was very unwise. That’s what made me think about the difference between being smart and being wise. I’m not saying that every decision they make is unwise and I know that I don’t act in wisdom much of the time as well.

So I’ve been thinking about what wisdom is and how we get it. Here is a basic definition of wisdom: the trait of utilizing knowledge and experience with common sense and insight.

The first place wisdom comes from is God. Proverbs 2:6 says: For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. James 1:5 says, If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. Colossians 2:3 says that in Christ are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Study God’s word and you will find a treasure map.

Parents are a good source most of the time. Proverbs 5:1 says: My son, be attentive to my wisdom; incline your ear to my understanding. Of course, there are some parents where you can learn wisdom by doing the opposite of what they do. But most of the time their life and experience has taught them a thing or two. Not all wisdom from parents comes easily. Proverbs 29:15 says: The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.

We can learn a lot from the people around us. We can see the fruit of wise and unwise living. Proverbs 19:20 says: Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future. We can avoid mistakes by learning from others. We don't have to learn from the school of hard knocks.

Wisdom is worth the pursuit. Proverbs 16:16: How much better to get wisdom than gold! To get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver. Proverbs 8:11: for wisdom is better than jewels, and all that you may desire cannot compare with her. We think college and higher education are important because of the monetary reward. That’s okay but not if we neglect what is really important. I would rather have a child with wisdom that a smart dummy.

We have to want wisdom. Proverbs 10:23 warns, Doing wrong is like a joke to a fool, but wisdom is pleasure to a man of understanding. Proverbs 28:26 says, Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered. Some people are smart enough to get things done but not wise enough to do it right.

Wisdom is what we need above all else. Sell anything to get it.

Philip

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Eating Too Much

Why do I eat too much? I know I do because of the bulge around my waist. I would guess it's at least an extra forty pounds. I'm sure carrying around the extra fat makes me more tired than I would be otherwise. I know it's not healthy.

So why do I eat too much? I've heard about food being a comfort. I don't think that's it. Sometimes I eat from boredom; pass through the kitchen and grab something.

I used to supplement my lunch from home with some fast food but I gave that up about six months ago.

What I find is that I like food too much and I like to be full. If something is good, I pile my plate. I eat most of the time until I am stuffed. There is my problem.

And there is my bondage. It's hard to admit. To do so I have to admit I am weak. I can't control an area of my life and I need help.

I pray for God's help and I make confession. That's a start but not the end.

Have you been on this path? What advice can you give? Or maybe you have lessons from another area.

Let me blame it on the woman: my wife is a great cook; too bad the food tastes so good.

Philip

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Authority

Authority keeps things in order. We stop at the red light, we obey the speed limit, and we follow the rules. Or maybe we don't. "I'll do what I want; nobody is going to tell me what to do." Follow that person and I guarantee you will see heartache and destruction. Things won't turn out well.

Authority is everywhere. As a self-employed person, I know there is no such thing as being your own boss. My boss is the customer. I have to please them and do what they want in the way they want it done.

Years ago, our kids had a youth pastor that had a firm grip on what authority was all about. He respected parental authority and was very careful never to contradict it. If he thought you were making a mistake he would speak respectfully and in private. I knew I could trust him with our kids.

When Jesus was on earth, He was under authority. Consider these words: So Jesus said to them, "When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me. John 8:28 For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment--what to say and what to speak. John 12:49

What about government? Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Romans 13:1

Church: Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you. Hebrews 13:17

Family: Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Ephesians 5:22-23 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Ephesians 6:1

Work: Servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the unjust. 1Peter 2:18

All of us are to be under authority. We don't get to make our own rules and we don't get to bend the ones that exist. Authority brings peace in our lives. It makes things go the way they should. It brings order.

Sometimes we have a hard time doing what we are told. We think we know better or have a better way to do something. Maybe we are convinced the authority is wrong. There are respectful ways to appeal and sometimes it's good to ask questions. Being obedient and submissive is never an excuse for doing something wrong

The apostle Peter in Acts 5:29 said, "We must obey God rather than men." There are times when authority can be wrong. Does something violate God's word? If so, you follow God. Is someone telling you to do something that is sin? If so, don't obey.

We should always respect authority even if we disagree with something. We should also be very careful before we violate authority. Is our motivation pride or something that we want?

I think the main thing to remember is that God is the author of authority and He places authority over each of us. Ultimately, we are following or not following Him.

Philip

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