Saturday, March 17, 2018


I Was Just Thinking About – NAKED AND AFRAID.

Many years ago, a program on the television was: The Naked City (based on life in New York City). It began by stating: “There are 8-million stories in The Naked City – this is just one of them.” The other day I posted a Blog about “Little Boxes” that had application to urban housing and the unknown individuals who live in those houses (or tenements; lofts; etc.). Do we take time to seek out these people? Do we care about who they are or what needs they have?

When we read the opening Chapters of Genesis, we find that Adam and Eve were naked and unafraid in the Garden of Eden. The following truths were operative and functional: (1) God created a world out of nothing; (2) God saw that His creation was very good; (3) The Garden of Eden was part of that Creation; (4) God decided to create a man who would tend that Garden; (5) God determined it was not good for man to be alone and created a woman to be his helper; (6) God would come to the Garden every evening to have fellowship with the man/woman He created; (7) God wanted them to love Him unconditionally and established one requirement for them – “Do not eat the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the midst of the Garden.

When reading Genesis 1 and 2, it fills one with wonderment about perfection and all of what that implies. It also reveals that God knows all there is to know about everyone and everything. However, one day when God comes to the Garden to fellowship with Adam and Eve, they are not present and eager to meet with Him. The serpent has entered the Garden and deceived Eve who disobeys God’s requirement, and in turn appeals to entice Adam to do likewise. Even though God knows everything at all times, the first question God asks is in the Garden of Eden. It occurs following the disobedience of Adam and Eve.

Prior to their disobedience, they would enjoy fellowship with God in the cool of the evening. After they had disobeyed, the anticipation of fellowship with God was altered and their eagerness was now fear. They had a sense of guilt and shame and decided they should hide themselves from the presence of God. Genesis 3:8-9 indicates: “They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man and said to him: Where are you?” Just pause and think about how piercing these words were for them both - Where are you? God knew exactly where they were and what they had done that caused them to want to hide from Him. Their answer is that they were naked and should not appear in that manner to come before anyone. They tried to cover as much of their nakedness as they could with leaves. Before God, they were admitting to being naked and afraid. Two additional questions by God quickly follow in Genesis 3:11, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?”

There is an interesting characteristic of God that is shared in Second Chronicles 16:7-10. It is a review of the victories Judah has gained when they relied on the Lord. Verse 9 paints a changing picture for Judah: “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward Him. You have done foolishly in this, for from now on you will have wars.” It is always a miscalculation for anyone to think they can get by with disobedience and think that God will not know it.

In Matthew 12, Jesus reminds us all that a tree is known by the fruit it yields. He then makes this statement in verses 36-37, “I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” This is just one area mentioned. Others would include whether or not one has followed and served Him faithfully. It should remind us that we need to take a serious God seriously. We need to be equally serious to His Word and our compliance with it. Before a Holy God we will one day appear before Him naked! Will you be afraid or eager to be in His presence?

Prayerfully – consider these things with me.

Thursday, March 15, 2018


I Was Just Thinking About - LITTLE BOXES.

We're all acquainted with the saying: "Good things come in small packages." At least, one hopes that will be the case. The expectation in receiving a small package is that it will contain something of considerable value. When we were living in Sumter County, AL - a place that is always very hot and humid during the summer months, our son had met a lovely young lady while attending the university that he believed should be his lifetime partner. To confirm his love for her and to establish a forever relationship, he wanted to give her an engagement ring. Employment that would grant a reasonable salary was scarce at the time. To establish his goal, with the help of an Elder in the Church, we (my son and I) set up a Paint Contracting Company. The Elder had been engaged in a business that had included painting as part of it. He was an invaluable help in assisting us with pricing and even borrowing some needed equipment. In actuality, we had more requests for painting than we were able to do. At one point, we even hired two employees to meet the demand.

As we neared the end of the summer, our son had earned enough that he could purchase a diamond ring to present to his special person. One day, we went to a reputable jeweler who spent considerable time showing diamonds and discussing values. There were two diamonds that drew our particular interest. I had recommended the one that was slightly less expensive - a very beautiful diamond. My son was drawn to the other stone (which he purchased). A day or two later, I returned alone to the Jeweler and purchased the stone that he had opted not to buy. I had in placed in a necklace and gave it to the love of my life, my Peggy. There were two little boxes containing items of considerable value. 

There was a different use of the term "little boxes" in an article by Megan Fowler, By Faith Magazine, January 11th, 2018. The article has in mind a song from 1962. "Malvina Reynolds wrote 'Little Boxes,' a song satirizing the carbon-copy houses filled with people seeming to live carbon-copy lives." The lyric contains these words: 
"Little boxes on the hillside, Little boxes made of ticky-tacky, Little boxes on the hillside, Little boxes all the same … And they all have pretty children, And the children go to school, And the children go to summer camp, And then to the university, Where they are put in boxes, And they come out all the same."

The author's application is: "When I see my community, I see rooftops. And where there are rooftops, there are people. And where there are people, there are opportunities for ministry." It is strange how many communities are based upon a "cookie-cutter" construction concept. As a child, I grew up in a tenement section where people were crowded in their similar type housing but still strangers to one another. Many churches moved from the urban centers and built luxurious complexes in the suburbs. Urban people by the score became even more isolated in their "cookie-cutter" existence. 

I have often wondered, whatever happened to the Biblical vision of people in such existences. Do they not matter to anyone? Are they just there to be exploited by politicians and others? What happened to the message from the Lord, Joel 2:13 (NLT), "Return to the Lord your God, for he is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He is eager to relent and not punish"? Whatever happened to the vision and mission to urban people, Joel 3:14 (NLT), "Thousands upon thousands are waiting in the valley of decision." Have the words of Jesus fallen on deafened ears, John 4:34-35 (NLT), "Wake up and look around. The fields are already ripe for harvest"? Have we become that shortsighted and dispassionate in the twenty-first century? What will it take to get Biblical Christians in Biblical Churches to capture and implement the Biblical Vision and be engaged in the Biblical Mission? Do you not see the "Little Boxes" and those who dwell within them?

Prayerfully - consider these things with me!

Tuesday, March 13, 2018


I Was Just Thinking About – DISCIPLESHIP CHOICES.

Recently, I read the following about Discipleship. The author allowed that: “If I Could, I Would” as his premise. If he could, what would he do? His response: “If I could, I would have people in the churches become responsive to the word of God by doing what it says. However, even Paul made a distinction among people in the churches by writing in a letter, Second Timothy 2:1-3 (NKJV), “Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.  And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” The distinction Paul makes is to single out those who are faithful and can take the discipleship baton and run with it as they share the truths of discipleship with other faithful ones. How many Timothy-types have we met? How many can be entrusted with the Timothy-task? Another aspect of if I could, I would include having faithful people remember Romans 11:36 (NKJV), “For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever.” Why is it so difficult for a church or individuals to think of the glory of God first rather than any personal adulation one may receive for doing kingdom work? Do mega-churches thrive on the recognition and adulation they receive? On a personal level, are our egos so emaciated that they need to be fed compliments and praise that belongs to the Lord alone? Why are some disappointed if they are not publicly recognized or acclaimed in some manner?”

The entry continued with these thoughts: “When Evangelistic Rallies or Revival Meetings are held, it is not uncommon to have celebrities and dignitaries seated on the platform during a meeting. It is thought that they will serve as a magnet to attract other people to be a part of the audience for the event. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus Christ cautioned about the egocentric behavior of some. Matthew 6:1, Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. The operative phrase is, “to be seen by men.” In like manner, Matthew 6:5, When you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. Once again, “to be seen by men” is the operative phrase. In a condemnatory way, Jesus addresses this same type of issue in Matthew 23:2-5, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat.  Therefore, whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do.  For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. But all their works they do to be seen by men.  The emphasis point of Jesus Christ in this passage is about the things being done to be seen by people. It is obvious that compassion, mercy and benevolence have nothing to do with that which was advocated. Personal adulation, acceptance and recognition are both the cause and effect for their actions.”

What does this have to do with us and our learning to be a faithful disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ? The simple answer is – everything! Jesus established the standard for being a disciple and he expected it to be followed without exception, amendment or alteration. Where do you find his basic requirements? You can begin with the cost of discipleship stated in Luke 14:25-33 (NKJV) where Jesus emphasized one has to leave all to follow Him. There are no exceptions regarding the cost. He cannot and will not be relegated to second place. When Colossians 1:18 states He is to be preeminent (in first place) in everything, it means precisely what is stated. It would be implementing immediately Luke 9:23-24 (NKJV), “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.” How have you responded to the requirements of Jesus Christ?

Prayerfully – consider these things with me.

Monday, March 12, 2018


I Was Just Thinking About - INVASIVE CARE.
A godly servant of the Lord (S.L.) posts daily, pithy comments and prayers on Facebook. On March 10th, 2018, he posted the following: "Even the good things we desire to do for others require their consent. There's such a thing as invasive care, which should be avoided." I responded: "Interesting and thought-provoking. "Invasive care" got my attention and is causing me to think about it! Thanks for triggering these thoughts!"
There are many studies that can be consulted regarding invasive care. My own personal level of interest is in the area of medical procedures and practices. One of the studies from Australia indicated the following: "More than a third of elderly patients hospitalized at the end of their life received invasive and potentially harmful medical treatments…After two decades of talking about non-beneficial end-of-life treatments we're still doing it…The review of thirty-eight studies from ten countries found widespread use of invasive treatments and tests including surgeries, chemotherapies, diagnostic imaging, transfusions, admissions to intensive care and in some cases CPR on patients with 'do-not-resuscitate' orders. We're talking about interventions that are not going to make any difference to the patient's survival but could cause pain and suffering. They aren't prolonging life, they're prolonging death… Families put undue pressure on doctors, refusing to accept the fact that their loved one was naturally dying…In many cases family members push for every possible treatment simply because they don't know what their loved one would have wanted."
For the Biblical Christian, is there any guideline that can be referenced when it comes to care for the sick? Is it possible to cross a line and drift into invasive care? Biblically, one of the basic guidelines for care of the sick is mentioned by Jesus Christ in Matthew 25:35-40. In the scene where there is the separation of sheep from goats, part of the Lord's criteria is: "I was sick and you looked after me." What does this entail and how invasive should it be? There is another aspect of care mentioned in James 5:13-16, "Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up." Two factors that should be considered are (1) The request being made by the person who is sick, and (2) The Elders acting in accordance with God's will being done in behalf of the one being anointed. Not everyone praying in "faith" will be raised up to physical life continuing in this world. However, as was noted at the recent Billy Graham Funeral, his perspective was that he hadn't died but merely changed his address and is more alive now in the presence of the Lord than he was as he managed declining health while physically alive.
We need to live out our lives within the framework and perspective of Philippians 1:20-21 (NLT), "I trust that my life will bring honor to Christ, whether I live or die. For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better." Additionally, the Biblical Christian has to be willing to release their loved one by giving them their permission and blessing to depart and be with the Lord. Is it easy to do? No! Will the loved one be missed? Yes! Will all involved know the reality of God's peace and comfort? Yes! Second Corinthians 1:3-4 (NLT), "God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us."
Prayerfully - consider these things with me.