Thursday, February 28, 2008


I was just thinking about - - -

A great asset for any person is in the area of perception. One must develop the ability to think; to receive and process data; and to make comparisons of contemporary declarations with historical fact. Otherwise, one will be duped and perhaps even brain-washed by a forceful and authoritatively stated point of view. It almost becomes the comedic point: "Are you going to believe what I'm telling you or what your lying eyes are seeing?"

A ploy in Biblical encounters is fascinating to note. When Sennacherib sets out to discourage and defeat Hezekiah, note the message he sends to Hezekiah in Isaiah 36:5, "On what do you rest this trust of yours? Do you think that mere words are strategy and power for war? In whom do you now trust, that you have rebelled against me?" Sennacherib was attempting to violate the thoughts of Hezekiah - to get him to look at his circumstances rather than to look to his Lord for help and direction. Each of us must be careful and guarded in terms of how one thinks. This is stated forcefully in Philippians 3:15,16. Paul is stating clearly how one should seek to be and live like Christ, and to be focused on the goal. He then comments: "Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained."

There is also a similar accent and application in terms of one's inner life. In Philippians 4:7-9, "And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus..whatever is true...honorable...just...pure...lovely... commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, THINK ABOUT THESE THINGS. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you."

One place where clarity in thinking is vital is the area of politics. One is barraged with all kinds of political promise, declaration, proposed actions, wide-sweeping agendas, etc. One Candidate allowed there were a million projects that could be proposed BUT the nation is not ready for all of those things to be implemented. Of course, little or no consideration is given to the costs of such proposals. A basic rule for life should be applied to our nation and its budget: "If your outgo exceeds your income = your upkeep will be your downfall."

One area that should have our attention and thought is Missionary Work in the world. As this Blog is being written, the Euro is of greater value than our nation's dollar. The precious metals index continues to rise with Platinum, Gold and Silver reaching new highs. The Precious Metals reflect the potential of inflation due to the rising price of Oil and the lower value for the Dollar in world markets. The Missionary Dollar is shrinking daily and that impacts how they live and what they do...

Those who follow Christ and His Word are to be those who issue the clarion call in a world of pettiness, greed, and war. The world needs to know WHAT to THINK and HOW to THINK. We need to make that effort. And ask yourself: "If not now - when? If not me - who? If not here - where? " You are an important and vital part of what God wants to accomplish in His world today. Don't miss your responsibility! Don't blow your opportunity!

Think about these things with me - - -

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


I was just thinking about - - -

One of the saddest words in our language is the word Hopeless. It is pregnant with negative feeling and despair. It represents one who is looking at life, circumstance, or situation and sees no resolve or benefit in moving forward or going on to a new level.

There is a Column today by Cal Thomas entitled, Misplaced Hope Can Be Dangerous. He is focused on the politics of our day and the Presidential aspiration of one proclaiming HOPE as a theme and banner for our future as a nation. Some of the Cal Thomas poignant statements are:
Hope must be grounded in objective truth otherwise it quickly becomes wishful thinking. I might hope my team wins the championship, but if they lack the talent it isn't going to happen. I might hope to win the lottery, but I don't play and if I did, I'd have better odds of being struck by lightening than taking home the jackpot.
Placing hope in politicians absolves too many of us of our responsibilities....
What we see in (Candidate A) is a man with great rhetorical skills, who is untested in battle. Many are projecting their hopes on him because he makes them feel good. What commander would put a low-ranking officer in charge of all troops during wartime? We are close to making (Candidate A) our commander in chief with no hint of how he might perform, other than to withdraw troops from Iraq.
Hope is a religious/spiritual word. It reflects on the availability of help and deliverance. It believes in a power and resource outside of ones own abilities. In Hebrews 11:1 and 6 we find these words: "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen...And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek him." This is not pie in the sky thinking. This is believing in an Absolute - it is believing in The Eternal God. This happens only By Faith and part of the benefit and result is the reality of Hope in the midst of despair and helplessness.

Does this mean that every negative situation or circumstance will be reversed and become a positive? No! Does this mean that God will always give you what you think you need? No! In Numbers 11, there is the account of the children of Israel complaining about having to eat Manna every day. They wanted other food - and - said so. The Scriptures indicate: God granted their request but sent leanness to their soul. The focus one needs and should always pursue is found in the words of some Hymns:
My HOPE is in The Lord, Who gave Himself for me.
And paid the price for all my sin, At Calvary.

My HOPE is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame but wholly lean of Jesus' name.

I love the words of assurance in Romans 5:5 through 8, "...hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly...God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

Key phrases in the Scriptures for our embrace and reflection: Fret Not! Do not Worry! Be anxious about nothing! Have Faith in God! Hope does not make you ashamed!

Think about this with me - - -

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Cupid's Arrows

I was just thinking about - - - -

Valentine's Day is a time when special effort is made to send cards, give flowers or candy, or to go to a favorite restaurant with a special friend or "favorite" spouse. It's a nice day in the year when a singular focus emerges, namely, Love.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning penned the words to the very familiar: "How Do I Love Thee, Let Me Count The Ways..." We are not as formal or flowery in our contemporary world and so a simple, "I Love You!" is about as far as we go.

Some years ago, a popular song was written that contained the lyric, "What The World Needs Now, Is Love Sweet Love..." Sixty years ago a movie, The Kissing Bandit, contained the stirring lyric of, "Love is where you find it, Don't be blinded - All around you - Everywhere..." As a young boy, I was a bit enamored by Jane Powell and she was the actress who sang the song (I wonder if this is why I remember it so well?)...

However, the Contemporary Christian composition that contains an excellent Lyric on the subject of Love has been sung so superbly by Sandi Patti. It is entitled: Love In Any Language...

Love in any language Straight from the heart
Pulls us all together Never apart
And once we learn to speak it - All the world will hear
Love in any language Fluently spoken here.

We teach the young our differences - Yet look how we're the same
We love to laugh, to dream our dreams - We know the sting of pain.

Leningrad to Lexington The farmer loves his land
And daddies all get misty-eyed – To give their daughter's hand.

Oh maybe when we realize - How much there is to share
We'll find too much in common - To pretend it isn't there.

Though the rhetoric of government - May keep us worlds apart
There's no misinterpreting - The language of the heart.

Love in any language Straight from the heart Pulls us all together Never apart
And once we learn to speak it - All the world will hear

Love in any language Fluently spoken here.

The Scriptures indicate several areas where LOVE is to be exhibited by each of us: (1) we are to LOVE THE LORD with all of our heart, soul, strength, mind... (2) Husbands are to LOVE THEIR WIFE as Christ loved the Church... (2) we are to LOVE OUR NEIGHBOR as ourselves... and (4) We are to LOVE OUR ENEMY and do good to him... Interestingly, the word for LOVE is uniformly the same regardless of area, situation or person with which one is interacting. This is more than "Cupid's Arrow" aimed at your heart. It is a commitment in response to God's Love to each of us. It is the intent of I John 4:9-11...

In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation (complete satisfaction) for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

Let this LOVE be our source, motivation and practice...

Think about this with me - - - -

Monday, February 11, 2008


I was just thinking about - - -

We are living in a day when many religions are surfacing and many conflicting teachings are becoming common place. The most obvious religion contrast today is that of Islamic teaching with Historic Christianity. Interestingly, in this day, there is a great deal of ignorance regarding both. As the New Testament was being written during the First Century, the Apostle Paul made frequent reference to the spirit world versus the factualness associated with Jesus Christ. Just two illustrations will suffice.

First is Colossians 2:6-9,
"... as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily..."

Second is Ephesians 6:11-12 where he stresses the importance of one putting on the whole armor of God, namely:
"Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places."

How real are "the elemental spirits of the world" and "the cosmic powers over this present darkness" and "the spiritual forces of evil"? An editorial by Joel Belz in World Magazine gives us a little insight in this regard (
Secular humanism boasts that it is void of explicit spiritual content—and in a has lived up to that promise. But in featuring such emptiness, it has left a globe full of people with vacant hearts and minds craving even a little spiritual substance. And that hunger, in turn, has turned its victims into prime candidates for... "neo-pagan spirituality.Taking secularism's place instead is a fascination with religions old and new—and usually altogether false. A typical example is the wild allure of Dan Brown's best-selling The Da Vinci Code...Affecting far more people than Brown's 2003 work of fiction and the movie that followed the book are historic but pagan religions in places like China, India, Africa, and many parts of the new world as well...China observer Sam Ling stressed that while the growth of Christianity in China is a fact—and that this huge nation once given up to Marxist atheism is now home to tens of millions of Christians—the fastest-growing religions in China right now are Buddhism and Taoism, whose adherents are numbered in the hundreds of millions...From Africa comes word of reversion to witchcraft and darkly pagan practices. If these packages come wrapped with superstition and even violence, so be it...
We need to be alert to the trends of our times and the prevailing interests of young and old alike. In many places among teens, there is the exploration of astrology, natural science, witchcraft, and alternative involvement in the spirit world. Some things that are deemed innocuous, such as the Harry Potter series, contribute to a fascination with spirits and extra-terrestrial possibility and capability.

In the meantime, the Church maintains its traditions and rituals, without realizing how out of touch it is becoming and is noted as:
"Christians have too often busied themselves providing good answers to all the wrong questions..." The Church is good at trying to fix things that aren't broken! How about that trend being reversed and seek to bring remedy where there is brokenness and bonafide issues in the lives of young people (and older ones as well).

You think about it with me...

Wednesday, February 6, 2008


I was just thinking about - - -

What was promoted as "Super Tuesday" by the Media manipulators, generated interest and various speeches by the remaining candidates.

I was taken by two of the speeches in particular. In one speech, a Republican victor stated: "We are the Captain of our fate..." A Democratic aspirant stated: "We are the one we've been waiting for... We are the hope for the future... We can do this..." And then an interesting mantra resonated throughout the gathering, "Yes, we can!"

The substance of the speeches caused me to think of the words in a poem by William Ernest Henley (1849-1903), INVICTUS - - -

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul.

An interesting observation from recent history reminds us of an extent to which this can become part of one's philosophy of life and action. Timothy McVeigh, who wreaked such havoc and caused so many deaths in the bombing of the Federal Building in Oklahoma, used the Invictus as his last words before his execution. And with that utterance, as his soul left this world and entered into eternity, he very quickly learned the folly of his words and ways - but - too late for any meaningful change (repentance) or contrition for his dreadful act.

If there is any possibility that the above mentioned politicians believe what they uttered and would lead this nation with that philosophy, then this nation can expect very challenging and difficult times ahead. It would be important to take note of God's disposition about such matters of national import. Psalm 9:15 through 17, "The nations have sunk in the pit that they made; in the net that they hid, their own foot has been caught...The wicked shall return to Sheol (grave or hell), all the nations that forget God."

If we are to be "one nation, under God", then we need to disengage from the foolishness of words, such as: "We are the Captain of our fate..." and "We are the one we've been looking for...we can do it - Yes, we can!", etc. In a political speech, the words may seem inspiring and motivational. In the bigger picture, with eternity's values in view - they are an evident departure from a fear of God and dependence upon Him. If only, someone would remember: "God is not mocked..." Throughout history, the nations that neglected spiritual values and the role of God in the affairs of a nation, did so to their own peril, demise and destruction.

Think about it...

Monday, February 4, 2008

Media Choreography

I was just thinking about - - -

In his poem, William Shakespeare penned: "All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts..." In this poem, he shares his thoughts about the seven stages of man. The introductory words are apt as we approach what the Media is calling "Super Tuesday". They have set the stage for their choice of political candidates for the general election. The choreography is displayed by means of The Debates that were scheduled and where the candidates have been allowed to keep repeating their talking points; and by the Tracking Polls that give almost an hourly speculation regarding where a candidate ranks at that moment.

Over the weekend, some "man-on-the-street" interviews were done about what various candidates represent and said. The query was then made, "Did YOU hear him/her say that?" All too frequently the response was: "Someone told me that's what he/she said." Thus, the choreography continues and the Players are moved into place. Part of the way this choreography works is in terms of WHAT the Media is willing to report. For instance, a US Senator endorsed a Democratic Candidate and it has received frequent reference throughout the week. However, another US Senator endorsed a Republican Candidate but that has received little or no notice at all. Why? Simply, the candidate did not meet the criteria for their Media Choreography that is in place and where they are setting the stage for YOU, the voter. It is all so subtle and clever. One really needs to pay attention and be involved in the overall process.

The Bible, in referring to events leading up to the last times, notes the persistence of those who manipulate both activity and words to gain an advantage over unsuspecting individuals. Note these words in II Peter 3:11 through 18 (NLT),
"Since everything around us is going to melt away, what holy, godly lives you should be living! You should look forward to that day and hurry it along – the day when God will set the heavens on fire and the elements will melt away in the flames. But we are looking forward to the new heavens and new earth he has promised, a world where everyone is right with God. And so, dear friends, while you are waiting for these things to happen, make every effort to live a pure and blameless life. And be at peace with God. And remember, the Lord is waiting so that people have time to be saved. This is just as our beloved brother Paul wrote to you with the wisdom God gave him – speaking of these things in all of his letters. Some of his comments are hard to understand, and those who are ignorant and unstable have twisted his letters around to mean something quite different from what he meant, just as they do the other parts of Scripture – and the result is disaster for them. I am warning you ahead of time, dear friends, so that you can watch out and not be carried away by the errors of these wicked people. I don't want you to lose your own secure footing."

The words of Peter and Paul did not fit the Choreography of the first century skeptics and manipulators of the teaching about life in the present, and the end times in the future. The language speaks of those who would "wrest" and "twist" the words and meanings to control the events on the stage and how they wish to have people respond.

Our nation is too important to allow the Media Choreographers to have their say and way. The Christian Community and the Church need to "get their act together" and heed the teachings of Scripture to PRAY for our nation and the current leaders, as well as for those who will be assuming leadership positions in the future. Pay Attention! Pray! Be involved! Vote for the candidate who best represents what you believe and embrace.

Think about it...

Friday, February 1, 2008


I was just thinking about - - -

As the Political trend has shifted so dramatically this past week, it is interesting to watch candidates
scramble to redefine themselves and attempt to broaden their base. In part, they use language that has appeal to various focus groups and test their statements to determine whether or not they resonate. It becomes mental gymnastics - sort of a mental slight of hand ploy - so you will be convinced that the way they voted in the past, and the things they have represented politically for a long time - those things are really not what they seem and just accept their word that they meant something entirely different than the result of their action. That is some kind of hocus-pocus going on. Interestingly, EVERY remaining candidate of all political parties have employed that tactic.

But - as I think about the political rhetoric that inundates us daily - my thoughts also go to the Church and professing Christian people. It is mystifying to see a conglomerate of people of faith so diverse in the application of The Book that is embraced as containing and being "The Only Infallible Rule of Faith and Practice." An example of what may be somewhat defining in terms of where we are as a nation and world, The Drudge Report contained a terse snippet by a political figure in Israel to the effect that "homosexuality will result in the defeat (demise) of Israel." The irony here is that people believe Israel is part of Biblical prophecy, etc. That being said, and if that is true, could this be a repeat of the behavior that brought the fall and destruction of Sodom and Gomorah? And, if so, when Robert Bjork wrote his tome, "Slouching Toward Gomorah" (pertaining to the moral and ethical decline in America), can this nation be far removed from a similar destiny?

I also think of Romans 1:25-28, 32 (NLT) and God's assessment of mankind, "Instead of believing what they knew was the truth about God, they deliberately chose to believe lies. So they worshiped the things God made but not the Creator himself, who is to be praised forever. That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other. And the men, instead of having normal sexual relationships with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men and, as a result, suffered within themselves the penalty they so richly deserved. When they refused to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their evil minds and let them do things that should never be done...They are fully aware of God's death penalty for those who do these things, yet they go right ahead and do them anyway. And, worse yet, they encourage others to do them, too."

The spiritual morph that is needed is summarized in Romans 12:1-2, basically " transformed by the renewing of your mind, so you will come to know and apply God's good and perfect will in your life." It is basic because - at best - our ability to process data is flawed and biased. We need a more appropriate and logically defined set of core values, and we need to stand firmly on a sure foundation - without compromise. The mind and core value base is too often like the Oriental Owned and Operated Laundry of a bygone day - "The Wishy-Washy"!

Don't let yourself be "Wishy-Washy"! Be a person of both conviction and commitment. Think about it....