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Archive for September, 2010

“I will exalt you, O LORD, for you lifted me out of the depths and did not let my enemies gloat over me.  O LORD my God, I called to you for help  and you healed me.  O LORD, you brought me up from the grave; you spared me from going down into the pit.  Sing to the LORD, you saints of his; praise his holy name. For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime;  weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning (Psalm 30:1-5).”

Whoever thought of putting TV’s in front of treadmills in a gym is a genius. Works for me!

Last night I was on the treadmill and caught the last several minutes of “Survivor Nicaragua”. I am not a fan of the “Survivor” series, but Jimmy Johnson, the renowned former coach of the Dallas Cowboys, was a contestant, so I was intrigued.

What caught my interest was that Jimmy’s tribal mates were not so enamored with him.  One guy in particular seemed jealous of the old ball coach.  Some of their attitudes smacked of age discrimination. (Johnson is 67, and truth be told, he did look pretty drawn in this episode.)

The moderator of the contest played up the leadership skills of the old coach. However, it seems his tribe were not of the same view. One technology executive was gunning for JJ, wanting him gone “so pe0ple will lose their daddy.”

What was obvious was that this man didn’t have a problem with there being a poppa; it was just he wanted to be “IT”. He had earlier groaned,”Why did we get stuck with a celebrity on our team.”

As the tribe met around the fire and voted who was going to go, it was clear Jimmy was in danger. As the cards were revealed, they read “JJ, J. Johnson, Jimmy…”. Johnson was voted off. As he left, he turned in a curmudgeonly fashion and said to the group,”One of you win a million bucks!”.

To me this was true leadership. Though he was ousted, Coach wished his team well.

 When you are a leader, you are a target. Followers will grumble and resist. Your body and mind will also not be happy with the stress.  If you are a spiritual leader, it’s even worse because there is an immensely strong and evil enemy out there wanting to take you out. His name is Satan.

As a Washington Redskins fan, there is no love lost between me and Jimmy Johnson. Still, I felt sorry for the man last night because of the attitude of his teammates.

Here they had one of the great coaches of our time on their team, what the shows moderator called “a proven leader”, and they ditched him. They were shown to be what they are: fools.

I suppose the outcome was to be expected. When you have dopes as followers, you can expect a bad  result.

Solomon said,”As dead flies give perfume a bad smell, so a little folly outweighs wisdom and honor…Even as he walks along the road, the fool lacks sense and shows everyone how stupid he is (Ecclesiastes 10:1,3).”

The actions of his tribe wreaked of bad judgment. It reflected the worst aspects of democracy.

When everyone has a vote, and the people are fools, they rule the day and turn it black. Solomon didn’t think much of this possibility:

” There is an evil I have seen under the sun,
       the sort of error that arises from a ruler:

  Fools are put in many high positions,
       while the rich occupy the low ones (Ecclesiastes 10:5,6).”

Considering what he was dealing with, being kicked off the show was probably a life saver for Johnson. He said during the episode I watched, ” I have been through two-a-days (practices) both as a player and a coach, and I have never gone through anything like this.”

After being voted off, Johnson said, “I had fun, but I was miserable the whole time. I still love the game, and it’s been a great adventure. This is the most stressful time I’ve ever gone through in my life, and I’m including Super Bowls and collegiate national championships.”

When Johnson woke up the next morning in a nice bed, he was probably grateful. He had been delivered from a bad situation all around which was sapping him of his health.

Thankfully, the Christian life is not the “Survivor” show. It may seem like it at times, but the good news is that we don’t have a fool as our Ruler.

We are led by a righteous God who knows when we have had enough. The aposte Paul wrote that ancient Israel (the people of God) didn’t believe this in their trials, and rebelled against Him. They engaged in immorality and grumbled at the Lord.

Paul noted that the punishment God dealt out to these foolish people occurred in order that those of us who came later would have an example to follow. The message is to hang on and stand firm. If we do, God will provide a way of escape, as He did with Coach Johnson (I Corinthians 10:1-13).

God’s a great Leader of leaders and for followers,too. He knows when it’s time for leaders to get taken out of survivor mode, and He he knows how to handle rebellious followers.  

The difference between the Christian life and the “Survivor” show is that, thankfully, God has the only vote.  I’m glad about that!

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“When tempted, no one should say,’God is tempting me.’ For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows (James 1:13-17).”

I came out  this morning to get some real work done, but  I can’t seem to get into it. I sit now in a grocery store writing this instead of doing the grading and marking required of a teacher.

I suppose you could say I deserve a break. I work pretty hard, and have for years. However, procrastination in my job can lead to disaster because the papers and other student work becomes an avalanche if I’m not careful. Thus, knocking off some of this work daily is a priority.

Yet, here I sit in a grocery store, writing. Why in heaven’s name am I in a grocery store at 9:30 am, one may ask.

I came here because they have free Wi-Fi and a comfortable place to sit. They also have cheap doughnuts.

I have been wrestling for an hour now whether to spend a dollar on a couple doughnuts. These days even a buck is a lot of money.

A little bit of my attitude is today is,”Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we shall die.”  I am pretty tired and life lately has been hard. Yet, I have maintained enough self control to avoid going to the doughnut rack and spending the dough (pardon the pun).

The Bible seems to frown on casting caution to the wind in the face of adversity. Indeed, it is the origin of the above quoted phrase concerning eating and drinking. Faced with an enemy, and its leadership having fled, Israel (i.e., the people of God) engaged in partying instead of soberly going to God for help (Isaiah 22:3,11-13).

The apostle Paul on the other hand had perspective. He looked forward to the resurrection and the eternal kingdom of God ruled by Jesus Christ. He knew he was an officer in the war with evil, and that having an “eat, drink and be merry” philosophy was short term thinking (I Corinthians 15:29-32). Paul knew he was in a dangerous conflict, and couldn’t let down his guard.

However, the wisest man who ever lived had something of a contrarian view on this “eat, drink and be merry” concept.  After discovering that despite all his wisdom, he really knew nothing compared to God, he threw up his hands and said,”So I commend the enjoyment of life, because nothing is better for a man under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad. Then joy will accompany him in his work all the days of the life God has given him under the sun (Ecclesiastes 8:15).”

I dig his view. Life can’t always be pain and drudgery. This morning, as I faced another work day, I understood that.

However, I was caught at the center of biblical tension. I thought life is to be enjoyed, but even spending a dollar for a couple doughnuts seemed to be indiscrete.

God solved that problem for me. As I sat up my laptop, a grocery store employee set up a tray on a table near me, looked at me and said something to the effect,”I don’t know how I can set this up and not eat any.”

I didn’t quite get what he said. Then I got up and took a look. On the table was a sign that read “Free samples.” Underneath the paper on the tray was a variety of pastries.

Thus, without spending a dime, I have been given the desire of my heart this morning.  I didn’t have to do anything but to receive the gift, and I didn’t have to violate my conscience.

Solomon once wrote concerning how one should interact with a king. He said,

Whoever obeys his command will come to no harm,
       and the wise heart will know the proper time and procedure.

 For there is a proper time and procedure for every matter,
       though a man’s misery weighs heavily upon him.

 Since no man knows the future,
       who can tell him what is to come?

 No man has power over the wind to contain it ;
       so no one has power over the day of his death.
       As no one is discharged in time of war,
       so wickedness will not release those who practice it (Ecclesiastes 8:5-8).

Satan hasn’t given up his war and his troops are still fighting. God  hasn’t issued me my discharge papers yet either.

It’s up to General Jesus when and if I get a three-day pass to enjoy myself. He knows when it’s appropriate to issue it. If I unwisely leave the fight without orders for my own pleasures, I become a deserter.

This morning I didn’t desert for dessert. However, Jesus came through with the goodies I was thinking of providing for myself inappropriately.

 It took a little Bible study and a sweet object lesson from God, but I learned some things this morning. I learned to interpret the Bible with the Bible to get a full perspective. I also learned that true goodies come from God.

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“My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you (James 1:19-21).”

Last week I was sitting in a men’s group discussing manhood. We had all arrived at our church at 6 am to watch a video and then discuss it.

In my small group, we were discussing the notion made by the speaker at the beginning of the video that no man is perfect. After watching the rest of the video, however, we had felt that this is what was being required of us.

In our eyes we were expected to be all things to all men and women. Metaphors were used. We were to be kings, lovers and warriors. The inclination of at least a couple of us in the group, the older fogeys, was,”I thought he said we didn’t have to be perfect.”

In my little male brain, though, I have figured out that this is what I am expecting of other people. I want them to be perfect. So if that is my expectation of others, then why shouldn’t I expect that of myself?

Part of my problem is my life is that  I do. I expect myself to be perfect. Subliminally,  as I said above, I require it of others, also.

I think I have set myself up for a fall in a fallen world. No one in any part of my life is perfect.

Want some examples? My kids lose my prized possessions. My coworkers don’t keep the rules although I am expected to. A driver breaks the law and then yells at me over my driving.

My response to all this injustice? I get teed off. I seek revenge. I require high expectations of others, and when they don’t meet them I get spout off in rage.

This is no way to live. Walking around with bulging veins coming out of my neck is counterproductive.

It’s time for a little perspective. First, I have to realize I am not the cat’s meow myself. Who am I to yell at another person? 

Solomon wrote:

“There is not a righteous man on earth
       who does what is right and never sins.

Do not pay attention to every word people say,
       or you may hear your servant cursing you-

for you know in your heart
       that many times you yourself have cursed others (Ecclesiastes 7:20-22).”

Second, I am not the arbitrator in all cases. There are bosses, police officers and counselors there to settle disputes in their realms of expertise and authority. That’s what they get paid for.

Third, when Adam and Eve took a bite of that apple, the world fell into a state of collapse. This place is under a curse.

In fact, God subjected the world to this fallen state in hope of redemption, so who am I to try and correct it (Ecclesiastes 7:13)? One day it will all be resolved under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

In the meantime, while I am waiting for that day, I need to take a chill pill when I am treated badly and when others don’t jump through my hoops.

Solomon also wrote:

 ” Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit,
       for anger resides in the lap of fools (Ecclesiastes 7:9).”

There you have it. I’m a dope if I let this fallen world get to me.

Ultimately, only God has the right to be ticked off. It’s better I let Him take care of his realm on His own, without my hypocritical help.

He doesn’t need me to right all the wrongs in this world. He’s in charge of cleaning up this mess we’ve made of things.

In the end, all of the dirt will come out in His wash. My job is to be the best “me” I can be and not require perfection from others, or myself.

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Maximum effort

“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:2).”

In the movie “12 O’Clock High”, General Frank Savage (played by Gregory Peck) is sent to the 918th Bomber Group to turn the unit around. It has become known as a “hard luck group”, beset my heavy losses and morale problems as they fight Germany in World War II.

Savage’s superior officer, Major General Ben Pritchard, tells him,”I’ve gotta ask you to take nice kids and fly them until they can’t take any more, and then put ’em back in and fly ’em some more. We’ve got to try to find out just what a maximum effort is. How much a man can take and get it all.”

Savage arrives and tells these veteran fliers that he doesn’t believe in “hard luck”.  He says he believes a man makes his own luck. Then he tells these seasoned fliers they’re going back into training to learn “fundamentals”.

Savage doesn’t stop there. He goes on to tell these men why he believes they are having such trouble:

 “But I can tell you now one reason I think you’ve been having hard luck. I saw it in your faces last night. I can see it there now. You’ve been looking at a lot of air lately… and you think you ought to have a rest. In short, you’re sorry for yourselves. I don’t have a lot of patience with this, ‘What are we fighting for?’ stuff. We’re in a war, a shooting war. We’ve got to fight. And some of us have got to die. I’m not trying to tell you not to be afraid. Fear is normal. But stop worrying about it and about yourselves. Stop making plans. Forget about going home. Consider yourselves already dead. Once you accept that idea, it won’t be so tough. Now if any man here can’t buy that… if he rates himself as something special, with a special kind of hide to be saved… he’d better make up his mind about it right now. Because I don’t want him in this group. I’ll be in my office in five minutes. You can see me there.”

The entire bomber group signs up for a transfer.

 Of late, life has been full of extreme trial.  Instead of things getting better, they are getting worse.

This is beyond my expectations as a Christian. It was my impression that God gives us periods of trial, but also times of refreshment. This hasn’t been my experience.

It is becoming clear to me that I am in God’s training program here in middle age, even though I have been a believer in Jesus Christ my entire life. I am now faced with a choice: am I going to feel sorry for myself like these fliers did and transfer out of the Christian life, or am I going to listen to my Commanding Officer and go back to fundamentals.

Like these fliers, we believers are in a “shooting war”. Our Enemy is the devil and he hates us. He wants to kill us.

One German soldier in World War II said when he was reprimanded by the Allies for killing all the paratroopers who had landed on his unit,”They weren’t coming down to give us candies. They wanted to kill us.”

Satan is not involved in my life to give me a Snickers bar.  He wants to destroy me and mine, utterly and completely.

In this spiritual war, in order to live to fight another day, I have to consider myself already dead to this world.  I have to forget about trying to save my own hide and the comforts of this world here  so I can help those I love and others have a better life after the war.

If God wants me to give “maximum effort” to do this, so be it. If I have to go back to the fundamentals of the Christian life to successfully prosecute this war against Satan and protect my own, then I’ll do it.

My pastor likes to use a phrase I am not that familiar with. He tells me to “dig deeper” in Christ.

When I asked him “how” to do this, he referred me to the disciplines I know so well, the fundamentals: Bible study, fellowship, and sharing Christ.

However, he also gave the reason why we should do these things. My pastor told me that it’s because Jesus Christ is our abundant Resource in our confusion in life. He quoted the Apostle Paul:

“We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us…(II Corinthians 8:10).”

General Frank Savage told one of his reluctant warriors that he envisioned the day when the skies would be full of American airplanes. The war would be won. He asked the man to hang on until that day.

In the end, the men of the 918th Bomber Squadron came around, listened to their commander, and gave the “maximum effort” he required of him.

One day the battle with the Enemy will be over. God and His soldiers will emerge victorious.

In the move “12 O’Clock High”, the commanding officers weren’t really sure what “maximum effort” was. They couldn’t define it. 

However, my all-wise God knows what “maximum effort” is and what He wants from me. As the spiritual battle rages now, I can do nothing better than to follow my Superior Officer, General Jesus Christ and do what He asks of me, considering the joyful ending that’s coming as a result.

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 “In the LORD I take refuge. How then can you say to me:’Flee like a bird to your mountain’ (Psalm 11:1).”

It has been a tough week here in Lake Blacksburg.  The days have been felt. Here on a Friday morning  I am spent after conflicts, failures and stressors.

I feel this way on Fridays a lot because the intensive part of my week is from Monday to Thursday.  All I want to do is crawl into a hole somewhere.

Unfortunately, a lot of my wounds from the battles of the week are self inflicted. I taught my students some idioms related to this concept this week. They were vocabulary in our book.

One idiomatic expression I taught them was “I am my own worst enemy”.  Another one I interpreted, which a student from Haiti was particularly curious about, is “I put my foot in my mouth.” I told him it means to say something stupid. He laughed.

I have been the poster child for both of these phrases this week. I haven’t been handling my fights well. I have lost my temper at work and been a grumpy curmudgeon at home.

Personal warfare in this world is to be expected. The combat I have experienced should not come as a surpise to me. It’s a fallen world.

I think Solomon must have had the “woe is me” feeling I am having right now. He wrote:

 “Again I looked and saw all the oppression that was taking place under the sun:
       I saw the tears of the oppressed—
       and they have no comforter;
       power was on the side of their oppressors—
       and they have no comforter.

  And I declared that the dead,
       who had already died,
       are happier than the living,
       who are still alive.

  But better than both
       is he who has not yet been,
       who has not seen the evil
       that is done under the sun (Ecclesiastes 4:1-3).”

The saddest part of this passage to me is the loneliness it conveys. Solomon felt like there was no one out there or at home who could give his soul rest. He wrote in the same context:  

” There was a man all alone;
       he had neither son nor brother.
       There was no end to his toil,
       yet his eyes were not content with his wealth.
       “For whom am I toiling,” he asked,
       “and why am I depriving myself of enjoyment?”
       This too is meaningless—
       a miserable business (Ecclesiastes 4:8)!”

There probably is nothing more miserable than being alone.  Money, nature, sports, career and other features of our lives become empty without love.

Randy Meisner of The Eagles band apparently had had enough of the lonely lifestyle he and his fellow artists were living. He helped to write the following lyrics:

All alone at the end of the of the evening
And the bright lights have faded to blue
I was thinking ’bout a woman who might have
Loved me and I never knew
You know I’ve always been a dreamer
(spent my life running ’round)
And it’s so hard to change
(can’t seem to settle down)
But the dreams I’ve seen lately
Keep on turning out and burning out
And turning out the same

So put me on a highway
And show me a sign
And take it to the limit one more time

You can spend all your time making money
You can spend all your love making time
If it all fell to pieces tomorrow
Would you still be mine?

And when you’re looking for your freedom
(nobody seems to care)
And you can’t find the door
(can’t find it anywhere)
When there’s nothing to believe in
Still you’re coming back, you’re running back
You’re coming back for more

So put me on a highway
And show me a sign
And take it to the limit one more time

Take it to the limit
Take it to the limit
Take it to the limit one more time

Ironically, as the story goes, Meisner and another artist in the group had a fight backstage over how to sing this song about loneliness and lost love. Losing it over a song about isolation doesn’t solve the problem.

Meisner had  enough of the pounding he was subjecting himself to. He left the drugs, groupies and travel of the Eagles to spend more time with his family. He apparently found the door he was looking for.

Meisner saw he needed love. When you are in combat, you need someone who has your back.

The local paper here in southwest Virginia has a story today about the passing of a revered high school swimming coach who did just that.  One of his former athletes said,

“He was not just a coach. He was kind of a force in your life.He’s the hardest coach I ever swam for. He would kill you. He would break you down — the hardest workouts I’ve ever been through. You wanted to cry. You wanted to throw up.

“The difference between him and a lot of other coaches is that you knew he was doing that because he loved you. He would make it a point to spend time with you outside the pool.

“He developed you as a person and pushed you to your limits and taught you things that once swimming was over you could carry with you the rest of your life. … He has some kind of imprint in me, in my soul, that very few other people have ever had.”

God is like this swimming coach. He takes us to the limit because He loves us. He wants to put His stamp on our soul. To do this, God has to push us to the edge.

In the process, if there is no one else to buddy up with, then there is always Him. He’s not just “a” force in our lives, He is “the” force.

I heard of a man recently which a search and rescue squad went after, thinking he was lost in the woods. When the rescue party found him they learned he was camping out there to run from troubles. His family begged him to come back home.

In the midst of our own anguish, while the bullets fly, God does the same. He tells us to run to Him, not away.

I may feel like crawling into a hole about now. There are a lot of mountains I could run off to around here, just as the supposedly lost man did.

I am going to go looking for hole; the best one to nestle into is the one in God’s bosom. He’s ready to take me in.

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“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up (Galatians 6:9).”

Yesterday I went to a college football game and, although my friend Jeff offered me sunscreen, I demurred.  While it’s not overly serious, I am paying the price this mornng.

I feel like I have a low-grade temperature. My brain is foggy. My skin is aggravated, especially in my face. I have a red neck.

Google tells me how to heal it. One article says to take a warm shower to increase circulation. Without knowing it would be a remedy, I did that last night anyway. There are other recommendations, too, but the best one is at the end of  the article: “Remember to wear suncreen next time!”

I wish life were this simple. The Internet is awash with articles similar to “Ten ways to heal sunburn”.  There’s even a famous website called “How Stuff Works”. Unfortunately, life is a little more complicated than taking ten easy steps to a new “you”.

As I reflect on my life this morning, I am wishing I had heeded one piece of advice.  It came from the apostle Paul: “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature]will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life (Galatians 6:7).”

As a younger man I blew this and other words from the Scriptures off. Now I am paying the price for it.

My response over time to this reaping of the whirlwhind was not good. I could have been given the nickname of the famous boxer from the 50s, Jake LaMotta. He was known as the “Raging Bull”.

God probably sat up there thinking,”What are you raging about? Didn’t I tell  you,’A man’s own folly ruins his life, yet his heart rages against the LORD?'(Proverbs 19:3)’?”

Somehow my rage escaped my notice.  It is hard to believe, but it did. It wasn’t until I had a big wake-up call that I began to acknowledge it and take action against it.

Unfortunately, while I am currently working to improve myself, the damage has been done.  The Bee Gees sang of the result:

“I can think of younger days when living for my life
Was everything a man could want to do.
I could never see tomorrow, but I was never told about the sorrow.

And how can you mend a broken heart?
How can you stop the rain from falling down?
How can you stop the sun from shining?
What makes the world go round?
How can you mend this broken man?
How can a loser ever win?
Please help me mend my broken heart and let me live again.

I can still feel the breeze that rustles through the trees
And misty memories of days gone by
We could never see tomorrow, none said a word about the sorrow.”

How can you mend a broken heart? Good question. I Googled that this morning, too, and came up with an article called  “Heal My Broken Heart: 15 Steps To Heal”.

This relationship expert, Amelie Chance, had good advice. Most notably she encouraged her readers to answer the questions of the Gibbs brothers and learn to live again, to not give up.

Chance describes her own journey. Her own heart was broken and she was left feeling completely empty. Life was colored by this emptiness.

It was only after she knelt in despair in the bathroom of the company she was in charge of that she resolved to get over it. The first step was she got off her knees. She realized too many people were depending on her.

As the boss, Chance was responsible for the livelihood of a large number of people. She resolved to find the answers to healing. Although she read a plethora of materials, they only helped a little. It was then that she stumbled on some pyschology that has apparently helped her.

For the Christian, there is a better way than psychology, although I am sure it can be helpful.  It’s to follow the advice of the wise man of Proverbs. He wrote,”He who gets wisdom loves his own soul;  he who cherishes understanding prospers (Proverbs 19:8).”

This wise guy wrote something else: “He who obeys instructions guards his life, but he who is contemptuous of his ways will die (Proverbs 19:16).” Up until recently, I gave lip service to this wise man, but I really didn’t heed him, and death in life arrived.

So how does one answer the question the Bee Gees sang about. How do you mend a broken heart?

I have concluded that the best way for me to do that is to backtrack and do what  I should have done earlier in life: heed God’s Word well. It’s perfect, revives the soul and makes the simpleton wise (Psalm 19:7). It’s the source of wisdom the wise man wrote about.

The Bee Gees had their question and the the Psalmist had his own: “Who can discern his errors?” In his lyric he also asks God to “forgive my hidden faults (Psalm 19:12)”.

The Psalmist knew that God is able to bring our blind spots out into the light and deal with them. They don’t have to wreak havoc, as they have done with me and mine.

The Psalmist also knew that more blatant sin against God didn’t have to occur either:

” Keep your servant also from willful sins;
       may they not rule over me.
       Then will I be blameless,
       innocent of great transgression.

  May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
       be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer (Psalm 19:13,14).”

Mr. Gibbs, the anwer to your question is that the One who makes the world go round (Psalm 19:1-6) is the Person who can mend a broken heart.  The apostle Paul, in a continuation of the advice I should have heeded in my younger days and Ms. Chance also have a good answer: don’t let life knock you on the floor. Get up and don’t give up.

Listening to God may be wearisome for some, as it was for me, but I’ve found it’s better to heed Him. If we don’t, we’re going to find ourselves scurrying around, wearing ourselves out trying to make amends for past mistakes.

Oh, Jeff, by the way, next time I will put on the sunscreen.

 

 

 

 

 

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 ” ‘This only have I found: God made mankind upright, but men have gone in search of many schemes’ (Ecclesiastes 7:29).”

What I am going to say is going to sound terribly sexist in today’s modern world, but I’m going there anyway. The lack of leadership of men when it comes to women has turned the former into clowns and the latter into lost souls.

This week a female reporter walked into a professional football locker room full of naked men and heard catcalls and degrading remarks from them. The way the woman was treated is now under investigation by the National Football League.

My question, and that of some of the players is “what in the world is an attractive woman doing walking around a room of naked men?”. Her right to be there in terms of her job as a reporter is beyond question, but the insanity of the whole system speaks of political correctness gone awry.

I heard a preacher recently say that the problem with our culture is that feminism has gone beyond the “women are equal” mantra to a “women and men are the same” emphasis.  I couldn’t agree more, and the results are devastating, especially for Christian men.

In our homes, we are Jesus to our families. In the pecking order of the Trinity, God the Father gave God the Son (Jesus) responsibility to teach His Word to a select group. The Father also gave Jesus the responsibility to protect them. Jesus did His job in spades (John 17:6-12).

In our world today, men have abdicated their responsibility to lead and protect.  Our culture eggs them on, too, telling them that men and women have the same roles.

Men have in some fashion gladly accepted this.  Since they have no responsibility, the consequences are off their shoulders and they are free to go after their own pursuits.

This leaves their women leaderless and open to immorality and other evils. The wise man of Proverbs describes a woman who tempts a man to come home with her and engage in adultery.

Where was the huband when this was going on? He was away from home, apparently for an extended period, using his money to do his own thing (Proverbs 7:6-23). Thus, his wife was left adrift to seek her passions.

This morning I read something by the same author which would make the skin of many of today’s women crawl. He wrote,

 “Look,” says the Teacher, “this is what I have discovered:
       “Adding one thing to another to discover the scheme of things-

 while I was still searching
       but not finding—
       I found one upright man among a thousand,
       but not one upright woman among them all (Ecclesiastes 7:27-28).”

Viewing this through my own cultural grid, I thought this was a pretty outlandish statement. Then I looked at it a little more closely.

One only has to do the math. There is only one godly man in a thousand. As a result, there are no godly women because there are no spiritual men to lead them.

If there are no godly women, I blame the men, including myself. This sounds incredibly gauche in our 21st century society, but sorry, I think the Bible still speaks to us today.

It is not my place as a man to question whether women are willing to let their men lead today. I think the women have to decide that.

Yet, this doesn’t negate our responsibility to try, even if there is resistance. Given the state of maledom today, the rebellion is probably justified.

NFL great Roger Staubach, famous 3o years ago, called today’ game “wussy” this week in comparison to the one he played. This makes sense to me because today’s men are wusses, me included.

It doesn’t have to stay that way, though. We can put aside our NFL, trips to the bar or Starbucks (a personal “ouch” there) and other hobbies and pursuits and lead and love our wives and kids. Then, there might be a return to godliness.

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