Thursday, October 29, 2009

Freedom

Men are qualified for freedom in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains on their own appetites.  Society cannot exist unless a controlling power on will and appetite be placed somewhere, and the less of it there is within, the more there is without.  It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things that men of intemperate minds cannot be free.

Edmund Burke

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Balloon Boy and the Circus Master


I wasn’t surprised at all when I heard that Richard Heene, father of the balloon boy, had hired David Lane as his attorney. Richard’s goal had been the generation of publicity and David Lane, as circus master will provide plenty of it.

You may remember David Lane as attorney for Ward Churchill, the pseudo professor from CU. Lane provides a never ending stream of media flotsam for his clients.

About a week ago, Lane tried to discount the confession of balloon boy mother Mayumi Heene by saying “Her English is not that great, first of all”. I guess that will be part of his strategy as he pits one Heene against the other in his quest to get an acquittal for Richard regardless of the cost.

In today’s paper Lane’s three ring circus comes center stage again. His latest performance involves an attempt to turn the tables and have the light focused on Sheriff Jim Alderden. He claims that the sheriff gave negative pretrial publicity against the Heenes.  I think they did plenty of that on their own. Their elaborate hoax had people all across the world stopping their lives as they prayed, watched and wondered about the little boy. It soon became apparent that it was all a scam. Nothing the sheriff said could add to the opinion most people already had.

I wonder how attorneys like Lane sleep at night. It seems they don’t care about guilt or innocence. What matters is that they accumulate “victories” even if it means the guilty go free.

Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue is but for a moment.
Proverbs 12:19

Philip

Friday, October 23, 2009

Thoughts about my week


The week is coming to a close. I enjoy my work but I love the weekend with time to read, write, relax, be with my family, go to the Samson Society meeting and to church.

This week was busy and strange. There were a couple of jobs I wasn’t looking forward to and I was glad when they were over. There was a crisis at a house the day before the closing and I ended up expending a lot of energy and time for little pay.

There was the day I worked for two homeowners who represent what is good and bad about people. Both had work they needed done. One called me early in the morning to tell me that she was sick with a fever. She was on antibiotics for bronchitis but wanted to warn me and give me the option of rescheduling. I ended up going, figuring I wouldn’t be too close to her. She did her best to stay away from me as I worked. After that job I went to the second where the homeowner, upon answering the door, told me that she was sick. As I followed her around the house looking at the jobs she had to do, she continuously coughed and did nothing to contain it. I felt like I was being showered with her germs. In the kitchen I saw a box of Tamiflu and wondered just what sickness she had. Was it the flu or maybe Swine Flu?

I had to go to the dermatologist yesterday to get some suspicious spots looked at on my head. He said it’s probably more basal cell cancer but he was willing to freeze the areas to see if that will work. It’s something I’ve gone through several times before but I hate the whole process.

Today the driver’s door handle on our car broke and a crack appeared on the windshield. Both were a fitting topper to this week. Tomorrow I will get a part and replace the handle; it’s no fun crawling in from the passenger side. The handle is cast metal and prone to breaking; I have had to replace it before. The fix involved reaching up inside the door where an infant’s hand would fit better. You then have to hold a nut with the tip of two fingers and maneuver it behind other parts and try to get it onto the bolt. It usually falls off many times before success is achieved. I’m not looking forward to the job.

It’s good to recognize the things that upset me before I’m upset. Maybe I won’t sin in this if I admit where I’m at and ask God to help me. His mercy is new every morning.

I did have a nice time going out to dinner tonight with my wife Wendy. We had a good steak dinner at Rosemary’s and then went birthday shopping for our daughter-in-law. Our Friday night date is the beginning of the weekend that I look forward to.

Thank you Lord for the help you give me each day and for the adventures that will come tomorrow.

Philip

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Sinner

He who is alone with his sins is utterly alone. It may be that Christians, not withstanding corporate worship, common prayer, and all their fellowship in service, may still be left to their loneliness. The final breakthrough to fellowship does not occur because, though they have fellowship with one another as believers and as devout people, they do not have fellowship as the undevout, as sinners. The pious fellowship permits no one to be a sinner. So everyone must conceal his sin from himself and from their fellowship. We dare not be sinners. Many Christians are unthinkably horrified when a real sinner is suddenly discovered among the righteous. So we remain alone with our sin, living in lies and hypocrisy. The fact is that we are sinners!

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together
(San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1954),
112


That's why I like the Samson Society. It provides a place of honest fellowship for men where anything can be said and where nothing need be held back. A place of complete confidentiality where it is safe to be transparent and where that transparency leads to healing and change.

Men, you are welcome to join us...if you dare. We meet every Saturday night for an hour then go to a restaurant for fellowship after.

Check out Denver Samson Society for details.

Philip

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Happy 31st Anniversary Wendy

Today Wendy and I have been married for 31 years.

Dear Wendy,

The years have passed so quick and our family at home is shrinking. Changes come quicker than they used to.

I know at times I have been a dream come true for you and sometimes that dream has been a nightmare. Thanks for loving me through both. Thanks for putting up with a fellow sinner.

Thanks for the love you have shown to me. Thanks for being a mother and teacher to our kids. Thanks for the comfort and encouragement you give to me and for the motivation to go to work everyday. Thanks for making a home that I love to come home to.

You are everything I could want in a wife. It’s been fun hanging out with you through the years. Thanks for helping me become what God wants me to be. Without you I would never have grown into what I am.

I love you!
The modern gift for a 31st anniversary is a timepiece. That is going to make for one romantic gift. Every woman dreams about getting a clock. Good husband that I am a clock it will be. It does have its good points. We will be reminded that time passes quickly, that our days are numbered and when it’s time to make dinner. Those are good things to keep in mind.

Philip

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Calvinism and Arminianism


In our last Sunday School class we touched on Calvinism and Arminianism. The context was the study we are doing in the book of Genesis and how the sovereignty of God plays out in that book.

The basic side of each view was given without bias towards either. That was good.

The wonderful thing about an honest presentation of both sides is that you soon see that both are true. Both sides have their verses that prove they are right. With proper Biblical interpretation you then see that neither side is right. When Scripture is taken as a whole we see the truth.

We should reject both Calvinism and Arminianism and accept the full truth of Scripture. It is error to take only one side of the argument and then use exegetical gymnastics to explain away the Scripture of the other side.

So what are we to do as we look at Scripture and find doctrine that seems to have opposing yet valid views? Honesty requires that we accept the whole truth and sometimes we have to admit we don’t understand it all. We can agree with the sentiments expressed in Psalm 139:6 I can't understand all of this! Such wonderful knowledge is far above me.

Philip

Sunday, October 11, 2009

My Nobel Prize


My wife thought it funny that I said Nobel Peace Prizes were available in the claw machine at the grocery store. Hey, there is nothing funny about that and it proves that the prize is more elusive than some would say. Have you ever tried to get a specific item out of one of those things?

I must confess I have never tried a claw machine. I hang my head in shame thinking that with my lack of experience I will probably never get to be the proud owner of a prize that at one time would have distinguished me from so many other common men.

And now I find that Obama will get one. All I can say is that guy has some skills and he didn’t even have to go to the grocery store. What was once prized is now becoming absurd. I guess we should have seen it coming when Al Gore scored one.

Philip

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Patience


Puritan Thomas Adams offers this encouragement: "Patience to the soul is as bread to the body . . . we eat bread with all our meats, both for health and relish; bread with flesh, bread with fish, bread with broths and fruits. Such is patience to every virtue; we must hope with patience, and pray in patience, and love with patience, and whatsoever good thing we do, let it be done in patience."

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Circumcision and Salvation


I was listening to Scripture this week as I drove from job to job. A section from Acts 15 stood out to me:

Some men came from Judea to Antioch and started teaching the believers, "You cannot be saved unless you are circumcised as the Law of Moses requires."
It was a question that required Paul and Barnabas to meet with the apostles and elders in Jerusalem. After much debate it was affirmed that circumcision was not necessary for salvation.

As I listened to the reading, I thought how things would be different if the answer had been different. Can you imaging the change in evangelism?  “Oh, by the way, there is one more thing I need to tell you” he said as he sharpened the razor. I guess that would have winnowed out the insincere.

Sometimes I think we want to make it too easy for people who come to Jesus. I know that salvation is by grace through faith and works don’t add a thing so I’m not advocating adding to the gospel but what about after?

I think about some people I know who started coming to a church I used to go to. They both had “interesting” backgrounds. There seemed a hesitation to encourage them to separate from those backgrounds. One worked at a head shop/tattoo parlor, the other held a lot of aberrant spiritual ideas. Over time the old ideas and ways of doing things caught up with them and caused them to stumble.

I wonder if being too soft on them lead to their downfall? Should they have been encouraged to make a separation from the old behaviors and ways of thinking?

In the Old Testament, circumcision was a sign of separation, consecration, covenant and purity. It showed they were the people of God.

What are our signs today? Sometimes we seem too eager to show that we are no different from the world except that we are “saved by grace”. Many talk the same, drink the same, smoke the same, look the same, live the same and take pride in that.

What should our signs be? What sets us apart? One thing Jesus said is that our love for one another would show we are his disciples. What else are the true signs of a follower of Jesus?

Philip

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Trials of Various Kinds


The reason many of us do not ardently believe in the gospel is that we have never given it a rigorous testing, thrown our hard questions at it, faced it with our most prickly doubts.
A good friend of our family has been diagnosed with Melanoma skin cancer. It’s a mole gone bad and now life had radically changed for their family. Things will never be the same no matter what the outcome. As I think of them, my own troubles look small.

I am thankful that Mike and Caryn are people who love Jesus; this time will deepen their relationship with Him. But why can’t that come some other way? Why do we need adversity to do certain works in our hearts?

As hard as times like this are, they give us an opportunity to see how big God is. Grace will come and life will be bearable. How many times people look back and declare that the growth and experience gained were worth the effort.

But the beginning is not that way. My friends will be on my mind and I will pray for them. I will hope for them.

We are nor scavenging in the dark alleys of the world, poking in its garbage cans for a bare subsistence. We are traveling in the light, toward God who is rich in mercy and strong to save. It is Christ, not culture, that defines our lives. It is the help we experience, not the hazards we risk, that shapes our days.
God saw the mole a long time ago. He knows what will happen in the future days. I rejoice that my friends will see God’s glory in their lives as the future unfolds. I pray for peace in the journey.

Philip

The above quotes from: A Long Obedience in the Same Direction.

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