Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Feelings

Thoughts from: A Long Obedience in the Same Direction.

This is from a section about security:

My feelings are important for many things. They are essential and valuable. They keep me aware of much that is true and real. But they teach me next to nothing about God or my relation to God. My security comes from a God who is, not from how I feel. Discipleship is a decision to live by what I know about God, not by what I feel about him or myself or my neighbors.
How true this is but hard to practice sometimes. Feelings can easily overwhelm the right thing that needs to be done. They can lead us in the wrong direction. They can convince us of something contrary to the truth.

I think the antidote is to be filled with God's Word. Then the Holy Spirit can bring truth to mind during the times when feelings are taking us in the wrong direction.

Philip

Monday, July 27, 2009

Obama the Meddler


After reading about the recent situation with Obama speaking out against the Cambridge, Mass., police department, I am wondering if there is any problem he thinks he can’t fix.

If you are not familiar with this story, here is a link.

Police showed up to the professor’s house to check out a possible break-in and he ended up getting arrested for disorderly conduct. A black Harvard professor was arrested by a white policeman; I guess that is racism on it’s face. Obama said the police “acted stupidly.” I wonder if he really had enough information to comment so broadly on this local situation.

Obama the messiah is now Obama the meddler. Soon we will have Obama’s messy fingerprints everywhere.

Maybe Obama thinks that the Federal government has a right to intrude at the most local level. Apparently, there is no problem too small for a big federal policeman.

Maybe this is an indicator of things to come. Maybe this shows us his real view of government.

Philip

Monday, July 13, 2009

Self Examination


Recently I was thinking about the need for self-examination. My thoughts were provoked by a section from the Samson Society Path. Here is what it says: I develop the daily disciplines of prayer, study and self-examination.

I do fairly well with prayer and study but I feel a lack in the self-examination area. I wondered if there was a list or something like that that would help. I did a Google search and found the results somewhat humorous. There was breast self-exam, testicular self-exam, various cancer self-exams and gynecological self-exam but I had to sift through a lot of results to find anything close to what I was looking for. In the end I was disappointed not to find what I wanted.

What really motivated my quest is knowing how easy it is to be self-deceived. We see it all the time; people fully convinced that what they are doing is okay yet the Bible says something different. Or maybe the law or another source of wisdom contradicts their belief.

My wife’s grandmother used to say, “You can’t put God in a box.” That was usually her way of justifying something she wanted to do or believe when the Bible said something different. It’s easy for any of us to do the same either through ignorance or stubbornness.

So how do we examine ourselves? Honesty would be the starting place but there are so many times when we think something is right because it’s what we think. My perspective, background and experiences color so much of my thinking without me realizing it.

I finally came to the conclusion that this is one of the places where we really need other people in our life. If they are honest, they can tell us a lot about ourselves. It’s another place where God pushes us toward community.

In the Samson Society, a focus of the meeting is a time to tell the truth about yourself. It’s a time where you can speak without interruption, without judgment or without someone giving you tips on the solution to your problem. There is something very healthy about that kind of environment. It’s an opportunity to look inside and learn to tell the truth.

The real strength of the Samson Society is the “Silas” relationships that develop. This is where the real work happens. It’s where another person, in the privacy and security of that relationship is able to help me see things about me that I may be blind to or to give me a different perspective.

As I thought more about self-examination I realized that it will never be complete if it only involves self. I need others who know me to help with that process.

The other night I was reading an article in World Magazine about Mark Sanford, the disgraced governor who had to publically confess his adultery. It quoted a spiritual leader in Sanford’s community who tried through the years to get him into an accountability type relationship. Even though Sanford agreed with the need, it never materialized. Another problem was he rarely made it to church. Now his sin is public knowledge, the future of his 20 year marriage is in doubt, and his four young children will have to live with the consequences of his sin. With the right kind of relationships in his life, he may have avoided this disaster.

Honest examination of our lives both through our own and others eyes will go a long way to keep us out of trouble and to guide us on the right path.

If you are a man, I would recommend you check out the Samson Society. If you are in the Denver area, check out our local chapter. It may provide what is missing in your life. To get an idea of what a meeting is like, click this link.

Philip

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Reasonable Service


Thoughts from: A Long Obedience in the Same Direction.

The section I have been reading in A Long Obedience in the Same Direction is about service. It’s looking at Psalm 123. As I read the section I’m going to comment on, I realized it could have been called worship as well. Within the thoughts on Psalm 123 it looks at Romans 12:1.

Here is Romans 12:1 from the KJV: I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

The section that grabbed my attention uses The Message for the Scripture text:

“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life – your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking around life – and place it before God as an offering.” (Rom 12:1) The Psalms emphasis on actual physical service (not a spiritual intention, not a desire to be of service) is picked up in the invitation to present our everyday, ordinary life. The motivation for service (not coerced not demanded) is picked up in the phrase “God helping you.” But most significant is the remarkable last phrase logiken latreian, “place it before God as an offering,” which another translation renders “reasonable service.” Service that is, that makes sense. The service we offer to God (in worship) is extended into specific acts that serve others. We learn a relationship – an attitude toward life, a stance – of servitude before God, and then we are available to be of use to others in acts of service.

I think these thoughts can give us a clue to what worship is all about. When we meet together at church we sing, pray, listen to Scripture and preaching. We are encouraged to live in service to God and to others – in tangible ways. That is true worship. Our whole life is caught up in God not just the time we spend at church.

Worship is an all out celebration of God that is manifested in our everyday life. When I go to church, many times I am moved in a very emotional way. I have great feelings, brought about by the words and songs I hear. Those feelings are pleasurable and I think that is good. I don’t just want to know about God I want to have a great time with Him. Now if those feelings were an end in themselves, not much would be accomplished; most of the time they lead to a better everyday life.

Worship is sometimes mysterious but I think I now have a better idea of what it can do.

Philip

Sunday, July 5, 2009

My Chance

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What if abortion ended the life of the only child you could ever have? That's what this song is about.



Here is a link to the story behind the song.

Life is a gift. Don't take it for granted.

Philip

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