Thursday, October 23, 2014

COLLYWOBBLES AND MULLIGRUBS

From My Perspective - - - 

An experience that can be experienced from time to time occurs when you try to engage with someone who has an issue with his/her Collywobbles or Mulligrubs. There is no way to detect this immediately. After a brief time, it will become obvious that the person you are seeking to engage in meaningful conversation is afflicted with either Collywobbles and/or Mulligrubs. There are two indicators of Collywobbles: (1) a person will display apprehension; nervousness; or a feeling of fear. (2) one who complains or informs the presence of intestinal cramps or some other intestinal disturbance. In either case, one should be wary and cautious with such a person. Why? It will soon become obvious that the collywobbles are having an effect upon one’s mulligrubs. There will be a display of ill-temper; grumpiness; and a possible colic-type behavior. One can get his/her mulligrubs to settle down by trying Activia Yogurt, Maalox or a quantity of Tums (for the Tummy). It is advantageous to know that some individuals love to expose their mulligrubs whenever they can to gain either attention or sympathy.

There is another cause and effect for Collywobbles and Mulligrubs. There is a strong possibility that one’s spiritual equilibrium has been neglected. In terms of one’s spiritual internals, there may be a deficiency of that which contributes to steadiness and balance. A person can easily become overwhelmed with the details and duties of life. In some cases, the result is a nervous breakdown when a person is no longer able to cope with the pressures of life. In other cases, it is marked by worry, angst and anxiety. There is evidence of the inner-turmoil one is experiencing. It could be life in general or some particular issue that is not readily made known. The inner suppression will only compound matters. A reason for the suppression is a hesitancy to be transparent due to a  fear of consequences that could ensue. A person doesn’t wish to be considered as one who is troubled. It is a fear of social non-acceptance or hasty judgments by one’s peers.

A Harvard Medical School Health Publication states the impact that anxiety can have in a person’s life: “Anxiety is a reaction to stress that has both psychological and physical features. If unchecked, the result will affect one’s: “nervous system, heart and breathing rates increase, muscles tense, and blood flow is diverted from the abdominal organs to the brain. The report summarizes: “Anxiety has now been implicated in several chronic physical illnesses, including heart disease, chronic respiratory disorders, and gastrointestinal conditions. When people with these disorders have untreated anxiety, the disease itself is more difficult to treat, their physical symptoms often become worse, and in some cases they die sooner.” The Study Also Contains The Following Data regarding unintended consequences that some fear: “Nearly two-thirds of the estimated 57 million adults with anxiety disorders are women. What people with these disorders have in common is unwarranted fear or distress that interferes with daily life.” Another estimate by WebMD states that 40 million people struggle with stress disorders that include panic attacks and social anxiety. A general summary statement indicates that some of the unintended consequences are: “Chronic worrying affecting daily life so much that it interferes with appetite, lifestyle habits, relationships, sleep, and job performance.” They add a Conclusion that states: “Many people who worry excessively are so anxiety-ridden that they seek relief in harmful lifestyle habits such as overeating, using alcohol and drugs.”

Proverbs 12:25 (ESV) reminds us: “Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad.” Are you an encouragement for one who is struggling with his/her collywobbles and/or mulligrubs? In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus reminded His disciples and followers (Matthew 6:25-34): “You of little faith! Do not worry then, saying, What will we eat? or What will we drink? or What will we wear for clothing? Your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself.” One must let go of worry and anxiety. I Peter 5:7 (NLT) reminds is to: “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about what happens to you.” Consider these things with me!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

INVINCIBILITY

From My Perspective - - - 

In a day when a militant terrorist group (ISIS) is spreading fear and anxiety in the Middle East; and the deadly disease Ebola is spreading in Liberia and elsewhere in West Africa; and the impact of both is affecting Governmental response and reaction within the USA, a question that must be considered and answered: Is there any such thing as national immunity to disease and worldwide invincibility toward all enemies both foreign and domestic? The idea of invincibility means: “incapable of being conquered, defeated, or subdued.”The synonyms include: “unyielding,indomitable (suggesting that which cannot be overcome or mastered).” Is any person or nation immune or invincible if God, His Word and His Will is regularly ignored?

Regarding an approach to diseases, several years ago, Dr. S. I. McMillen and Dr. David E. Stern authored a book entitled, “None of These Diseases.” The back cover of the book states the following: “After thousands of years, medical science rediscovers a startling prescription for full and healthy living: The Bible. God told the Israelites when He brought them out of Egypt, “And there He tested them, and said, "If you diligently heed the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am the Lord who heals you” (Exodus 15:26). It is no secret. Our lifestyles are killing us. Elevated stress hormones are toxic to our systems, poisoning our bodies. Grief and bitterness, like wounds to the soul, cause spiritual cancers of anger and depression. Unhealthy habits lead to a myriad of diseases. Can faith really produce better health? Can corporate worship reduce hospital visits? Can prayer replace pills? Modern Medical Research reveals in 80 to 90 percent of studies what Christians have known for centuries: Weekly church attendance, daily Bible reading, and a constant attitude of prayer is the prescription for healthy living - mind, body, and soul.”

There is an interesting summary in I Thessalonians 5:14-28 in terms of how a follower of Jesus Christ is supposed to live and function. Within that summary are these words (Verses 21-24): “Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil. Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.” While the application is obviously spiritual in nature and emphasis, is there a physical application as well? It’s the phrase that states, “…may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless…” Consider the above synonyms in this regard: “unyielding, indomitable (suggesting that which cannot be overcome or mastered).” Are these synonyms applicable only to the spiritual or do they also include the physical? 

There are Biblical references that link both the spiritual and physical in terms of one’s overall health, such as 3 John 1:2, “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.” Here is a definite link between a focus on both physical and spiritual health and well-being. Proverbs 17:22 reminds all people, “A merry heart does good, like medicine, But a broken spirit dries the bones.” This addresses the need to rid oneself of things like bitterness wrath, anger, malice and evil speaking. These are not only grievous to the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30-32) but also harmful to one’s mental and physical well being. The Lord is speaking to and through His prophet (Jeremiah 33:2-6) about His plan to restore His people. He shares these words: “Thus says the Lord…Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know…Behold, I will bring health and healing; I will heal them and reveal to them the abundance of peace and truth.” Once again, there is a linkage between physical health and spiritual healing. Let us be reminded of the word of the Lord in II Chronicles 7:14, “if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” Consider these things with me!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

CONDUITS OR CUL-DE-SACS?

From My Perspective - - - 

There are many signs and warnings about the contemporary world and culture that have been ignored. It is easy to live with a memory of how things once were and to avoid the issue of what we have become. The idea that we can maintain ourselves by just living from day to day devoid of any sense regarding where we are going and what the future holds is folly. Are we content to be in our cul-de-sac or are we willing to be a conduit? A cul-de-sac, by design, is a dead end road. It is defined as: “a street or  lane that is closed at one end; blind alley; dead-end street; any situation in which further progress is impossible; an inescapable position.” A conduit is completely different by design and purpose. Its function is to be: “a pipe or tube for conveying water or other fluid; a similar natural passage.” Do you see yourself as being a Conduit or are you desirous and content to be a Cul-de-sac?

There are several excellent articles in the October 2014 issue of Decision Magazine that sound the alarm and warning, as well as issuing a challenge and remedy. The goal of a Biblical Christian and Church should be the desire to function as a Conduit rather than to merely exist as a Cul-de-sac. One of the articles is by Tony Evans, who wrote: “America is in trouble. From sea to shining sea we are witnessing the devolution of a nation. The United States is quickly becoming the divided states. Disunity and conflict abound. Family breakdown, the immigration crisis, the threat of terrorism, an abiding racial divide and political dysfunction all point to a deeper problem. Regardless of which side of the political aisle you sit on, it is clear: Things are unraveling at warp speed. Like never before, we must pray for our nation and her leaders. As Christians, we must ask: Are we going to sit by and watch our culture fall apart and our families disintegrate? Or are we going to do something to help turn America to God? The future of our culture is in the hands of Christians because the cause of our cultural demise is innately spiritual. And if a problem is spiritual, its cure must be spiritual as well. If we Christians are going to help turn our nation to God, we must fall on our knees and our faces before God and pray. We must not only talk about prayer, but pray. Not only agree on the importance of prayer, but pray. Not only preach on the power of prayer, but pray…To get our nation on its feet, we must get on our knees.”

I Thessalonians 5:16-19 indicates that which should be common to the Biblical Christian and Church: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit.” There are four minimum requirements stated: (1) Rejoice, (2) Pray, (3) Give Thanks, and (4) Do not Quench the Spirit. How faithful and consistent are we in terms of the four stated requirements? How frequently do we recall what they are and mean for us on a daily basis? Is our negligence in any one of these requirements contributory to the demise of spiritual influence and impact in the Contemporary World and Culture? By example and practice, Jesus Christ prayed at length and with intensity (Luke 22:40-44; Matthew 26:36-46). Intensity is demonstrated by the words of Luke 22:44, “And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” Discipline in Prayer is emphasized in Matthew 26:41: “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”  

When should a nation seek the Lord?  Isaiah 37 records what Hezekiah did when he received threats from Sennacherib, the Assyrian General. The letter was intended to intimidate Hezekiah and God’s people. At that moment of threat and possible annihilation, what did Hezekiah do? Verse 14 states his action: “Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers, and read it; and Hezekiah went up to the house of the Lord, and spread it before the Lord.” We are at this point in our Contemporary World and Culture. This is our last and best hope for the World, Nation and Church! We need to immediately go to the house of the Lord and spread the matter out before Him for His resolve and remedy. Are you content in your cul-de-sac (dead end existence), or are you a functional conduit?  Consider these things with me! 

Monday, October 13, 2014

OPERATIONAL CHAOS

From My Perspective - - - 

Almost 50 years ago, Get Smart became a comedy series that satirized the world of spies and secret agent genre. The good agents work for an agency known as CONTROL whereas the bad and evil agents work for KAOS. It should be noted that neither CONTROL nor KAOS is actually an acronym. A contemporary application could be: (a) Who or What is CONTROL today? and (b) If anyone is in CONTROL, why is there so much CHAOS throughout the world? 

The Biblical Christian and/or the proponents of Calvinism (Reformed Faith) would immediately state that God is the Creator and maintains CONTROL over all things at all times. We should be clear and certain that we subscribe to the facts of Scripture. One of the primary passages is Colossians 1:16-18 (NIV), “For by Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; He is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything He might have the supremacy.” The Message paraphrases verses 16-17, “For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible, rank after rank after rank of angels, everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him. He was there before any of it came into existence and holds it all together right up to this moment.” 

With the above Scripture passage cited, if these things are true and valid, why is there so much apparent CHAOS in the world today? Romans 1:18-32 (NKJV) discusses the plight and context for life that becomes a reality for those who reject God, the Creator. The words of verses 20-21 give the basis for why things have become and are becoming chaotic and reprehensible: “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.” 

The Church should have remained steadfast with its core values and foundational principles. Has the Church done so? There appears to be a type of law at work within the church that lends itself to a conclusion, namely, the greater the influence of the culture allowed by and in the church, the greater the level of chaos will exist within the church and by its external efforts. The lukewarm and accommodating church could be consider within a Law of Thermodynamics: “The entropy of any isolated system never decreases. Such systems spontaneously evolve towards thermodynamic equilibrium, the state of maximum entropy of the system.” The Law of Entropy is the idea that everything is tending toward CHAOS and Decomposition. The British Dictionary has as one of the possible definitions: “the lack of pattern or organization; disorder.”

When the Law of Entropy begins to be experienced, there will be an increased awareness of pain, disorder, confusion, chaos, decomposition, decay, void and deconstruction. Since Colossians 1:16-18 (cited above) is true, what is the purpose behind the Law of Entropy in the world and our lives? God always has a purpose for all things that He plans and allows. God has purposed that the pain, chaos and growing disorder is intended to drive an erring and errant people to a place of repentance as well as to seek Him and the abundance of His love, mercy and grace. 

Matthew 24 shares the words of Jesus to His disciples regarding the chaos and confusion that will prevail in the world and church before He returns. Even though some may believe or think we are on that threshold now, Jesus indicates that despite the intensity of wickedness, “the end is not yet…lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold…but, the end is not yet.” We need to be certain that we are part of the solution and not becoming part of the problem. Our objective must be to live godly lives and to remain faithful to the end. Consider these things with me.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES

From My Perspective - - - 

Tuesday morning, I was traveling to an appointed meeting. The most direct route, utilized by many on a daily basis,  was unexpectedly blocked by Police and Emergency Vehicles. The evening news reported that an older adult was leaving his residential area and drove directly into the path of a School Bus. There was no possibility of the bus being able to avoid a direct hit to the car. The unintended consequence was that the man was instantly killed and his car totally destroyed. 

The Wednesday evening news featured a report of an area young woman making a choice to move to Oregon where there is a right to die law. This will enable her to be in a place where she can have and make the choice for the date of her death. She has chosen November First as the date for her “death with dignity” option. She has inoperable brain cancer that is predicted to bring about excruciating pain as death draws near. The picture drawn is that she will be able to die by her own terms that include being in her own bed; her favorite music being played; her parents and husband seated by her bedside and her ability to say her final goodbyes. The unintended consequences in this situation are yet to be determined.

The news last night included an interview with US Army General Jack Keane (Ret) who was addressing the brazen attacks of ISIS on a city near the border of Turkey. While the world literally watches this battle unfold, the Administration of the United States is locked into a policy where full engagement against ISIS-ISIL is not an option. General Keane opined: “The President is paralyzed by the fear of unintended consequences.” As an aside, this is a good reason why the Military should conduct the war and not a passive and pacifying political leader. In the face of this nation’s timidity, ISIS-ISIL is becoming more emboldened to do whatever it wishes and whenever it chooses to do so. 

Today In The Word, Thursday: October 9th, contains these comments about death and unintended consequences: “In his book The Christian Art of Dying, theologian Allen Verhey remarks: Churches have grown too often silent about death. When Christians have spoken, they have too often participated in the denial of the hard reality of death, serving up warmed-over Platonic platitudes as if they were genuine consolation. King Josiah had instituted many spiritual reforms for the kingdom of Judah, including celebrating the Passover. But he disregarded counsel to stay out of a battle against Egypt and was mortally wounded. It was the beginning of the end for Judah: the kings that followed Josiah persisted in evil, and Judah became a puppet state of Egypt and was then destroyed and exiled by the Babylonians (2 Chronicles 36). The prophet Jeremiah did not offer the people of Judah platitudes in response to the death of Josiah. As they mourned their fallen king, Jeremiah composed laments that would provide a corporate vocabulary for grieving (v. 25). When we wrestle with the death of a loved one, it is a blessing to have a leader or friend help guide us in how to lament. We should not minimize the pain of death.”

Our Daily Bread, Thursday: October 9th, contains these comments about perspective: “In C. S. Lewis’ book God in the Dock, he wrote: If you think of this world as a place intended simply for our happiness, you find it quite intolerable; think of it as a place of training and correction and it’s not so bad. Sometimes we expect that life should be happy and pain-free. But that is not what the Bible teaches. For the believer, this world is a place of spiritual development through both good times and bad. Jesus was realistic when He explained what to expect in life. He told His disciples: In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world (John 16:33). In facing life’s blessings and bruises, we can have the inner peace that God is orchestrating events according to His sovereign plan.” Are you one who is paralyzed with fear regarding the unintended consequences that may bruise or injure you? It would be to one’s advantage to embrace Psalm 37 as a reed upon which one can lean. When doing so, verse 7 should be an encouragement to: Rest (Relax) in the Lord and wait patiently for Him (for His timing, His will and His purpose to be made known - His way is always perfect). You can know His intended purposes for you! Consider these things with me!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

PEACE OR PANIC

From My Perspective - - - 

We live in a world that seems to be moving from one challenging crisis into another without pause. There is barely enough of a time lapse to consider all of the ramifications and designs of ISIS-ISIL when we are thrust into the tremendous need of Liberia, most of West Africa and into other parts of the world as Ebola has not yet been constrained. While the government of the United States addresses both issues frequently, words do little to allay the fears, concerns and sense of panic within the citizenry. 

An Evangelical Leader, Dr. Erwin Lutzer who is Pastor of Moody Church in Chicago, IL,  has sent out a poignant statement that should be pondered. It is entitled, Church and Culture, and begins with the following statement: “Dark days are ahead for the United States. News outlets show increasingly violent and horrific scenes happening in our own backyards. God’s enemies are out to obliterate Christianity and destroy democracy. Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, ‘Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.’ This quote has always stirred me. Though it was made in reference to the churches that had lost their biblical mission and voice in Germany during the rise of Hitler, I’m afraid that it’s quite true of our churches today. We are losing the Gospel by not speaking and not acting.”

There is both advantage and disadvantage living in a nation and world where 24/7 news media is constant. The advantage is that it provides us with events that are taking place world-wide. The disadvantage is that reports can give viewers degrees of fear and a sense of panic. When Ebola first began to be the subject of daily reports, many people had no idea what it was or how it might affect them if it reached this nation. To some degree, the idea that “ignorance is bliss” has some advantage to “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.” Will Ebola become an epidemic in the United States gets attention but the suggestion is often based upon ignorance rather than knowledge. This is how the seeds of panic can be planted and nurtured.

While we should be concerned regarding some with contagious diseases entering this nation illegally via the southern border, panic can too easily supplant peace. In like manner, fear can quickly overcome calmness and confidence. Fear can short-circuit sound reasoning and faith. A secular society and culture focuses primarily on humanness and has no time or space for the spiritual dimension of what constitutes a person in God’s sight. The words of I Thessalonians 5:23-24 are both instructive and reassuring: “May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.” These words embrace and encompass the totality of who we are as a person and allow that peace can and should be what we have in a personal relationship with God Himself. The lifestyle of hope and confidence that should permeate a Christian people is recorded in Isaiah 26:3-8 (selected), “You (God Himself) will keep in perfect peace those whose mind is steadfast, because they trust in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord, is the Rock eternal. He humbles those who dwell on high…The path of the righteous is level…You (God Himself) make the way of the righteous smooth. Yes, Lord, walking in the way of your laws, we wait for you; your name and renown are the desire of our hearts.” 

In 1914, Oswald J. Smith wrote the words to the Hymn, Deeper and Deeper. It is a about the intimacy one can realize in a relationship with Jesus Christ. The fourth stanza includes these words: “Into the joy of Jesus, Deeper and deeper I go, Rising, with soul enraptured, Far from the world below. Joy in the place of sorrow, Peace in the midst of pain, Jesus will give, Jesus will give; He will uphold and sustain.” This can be your reality, your encouragement and your assurance as you live your life amid the cultural chaos in our world. You can be safeguarded from panic as you abide in Christ’s peace. Consider these things with me.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

SKEDADDLING

From My Perspective - - - 

Have you ever had to skedaddle? Do you remember why skedaddling seemed the best choice for you at the time? What is being implied by the one choosing to skedaddle from a particular place at a particular moment of time? What was the original application of the word? When does it most likely occur today? If one has never physically skedaddled, after a period of reflection, one may wish that he/she had done so. Skedaddling means: “to run away; flee; fly; depart hastily; the verb ‘to skedaddle,’ was revived during the Civil War to suggest precipitous flight.” The one who skedaddled from the battle was noted for cowardice, desertion or dereliction of duty. 

George F. Will in a column posted on October 1, 2014 used two terms of evaluation for the point he is making: “A New Case For Congressional Term Limits.” One evaluation states: “What has actually transpired since Barack Obama's September 10 address to the nation has been, Corbin and Parks argue, “a parody” of propriety. In his address about the Islamic State (which did not mention Khorasan, the asserted imminent threat that supposedly justified acting without Congress), Oba,ma spoke to the public, not to the public’s institutional embodiment, Congress, whose support he said would be “welcome,” implying that it is unnecessary. Next, the administration argued with itself about what it was that Obama was going to do without congressional approval. (This was before his press secretary identified it as war.) Then the House tacked onto a spending bill its approval of arming certain Syrians (the “vetted” moderates?) and dispersed. The Senate, having added its approval without discernible deliberation, also skedaddled.” His second evaluation states: “Obama is demonstrating in foreign policy what he has redundantly demonstrated in domestic policy — a supine Congress is superfluous to governance. Which makes this autumn surreal: Why are so many people so eager to serve in a negligible Congress?”

He has introduced an additional descriptive term when he uses the word “supine.” It might actually be a better choice if one “skedaddled” rather than being found as one who is “supine.” Supine means: “lying on the back, face or front upward; inactive, passive, or inert, especially from indolence or indifference.” At this point, he quotes: "Aristotle teaches that no one becomes a tyrant to get in out of the cold"; in contemporary terms, no one runs for president for the upmarket house and the jet airplane. But increasingly, there is evidence that members of Congress do seek office for something other than the power, for power is something with which they are not merely willing but often eager to part.” George Will concludes, “This reinforces Congress’s self­-marginalization: Congress increasingly attracts people uninterested in reversing its institutional anemia. They are undeterred by — perhaps are attracted by — the fact that they will not be responsible for important decisions such as taking the nation into war. As Congress becomes more trivial, its membership becomes less serious.”

Let’s apply “skedaddle” and “supine” to the church in general and professing christian people in particular. Despite the instruction and directive of Ephesians 6:10-20 to be fully prepared for and engaged in spiritual warfare, there are many who will either skedaddle or be deemed supine at the crucial time and place for engagement. The intensity of the conflict has been adequately described. The professing christian has made a verbal commitment to make a stand against the forces of evil but many choose to flee the danger. Jesus was discussing the cost involved for the one who would follow Him. In Luke 9:57-62, He is addressing the varying priorities of those who indicate they might be willing to follow Him. Jesus is challenges the term some used and their motivation for using: “Let me FIRST go…” The bottom-line for Jesus Christ then, as it is now, is given in Luke 9:62, “Jesus said: ”No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” He is addressing those who would skedaddle and those who choose to be supine. Are you “fit for the kingdom of God” today? If not, why not? Consider these things with me.