Posts

Friday; January 18

If you had the chance to sit down with a group of godly believers what would you say to them?  If you are like me you might be tempted to try to do some teaching – explaining to them what they need to do to be better.  While that might be one good use of the time together, could it be even better to just offer a word of encouragement to them?  Rather than telling them what is wrong in their lives, what would happen if we made the effort to explain what is right in their world?            I think it would go without saying that Children of Israel in the Old Testament could have used some words of direction, but, at one point when their religious leaders were given instructions about how to approach the benedictions they offered they were told, “Thus you shall bless the sons of Israel. You shall say to them:  ‘The Lord  bless you, and keep you; the Lord make His face shine on you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance on you, and give you peace.’  So they sha…

Thursday; January 17

When I was shoveling the snow out of my driveway last weekend I realized something – I have gotten soft!  For the better part of thirty years I lived in some pretty cold places (often without benefit of a snowblower) and got used to moving snow … I mean LOTS of snow in some pretty extreme conditions.  Having spent most of my childhood years in Florida, it wasn’t as if I inherited a snow shoveling gene or grew up learning and loving snow removal, but as the years progressed I just got used to it.  By the time I left Wyoming a few years ago, being around snow was just no big deal.  Now I fuss and whine at a couple inches of snow!           While getting used to something can be a blessing, I think it can also be a curse.  Have you ever thought about how much immoral and carnal stuff we have “gotten used to” in our lives?  No, the world has never been a pure place and has always had to deal with immorality, but it does seem that fewer things tend to bother us.  It is almost like…

Wednesday; January 16

One of the premier examples of evangelism in the New Testament comes from an early disciple named Philip.After a successful campaign in Samaria Philip was dispatched by an angel to meet up with a man from Ethiopia.When Philip caught up with him the interaction began this way, “Philip ran up and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet, and said, ‘Do you understand what you are reading?’” (Acts 8:30).Isn’t it interesting that Philip begins – not by telling the man what he needed to know – but by asking the man what he wanted to know.He opened the conversation with a question – not a statement of his own faith. In his book The Trust Edge, David Horsager quotes Patricia Fripp’s philosophy, “The key to connection is conversation.The key to conversation is questions.Therefore, learn to ask great questions.”.Personally, if someone is hoping to convince me of something the best way to engage me is to develop a rapport with me.I am not impressed with “30 second elevator speeches” nor do I relate …

Tuesday; January 15

The other day I was reading a quote from Martin Luther King, Jr. in which he noted, “Science investigates; religion interprets. Science gives man knowledge, which is power; religion gives man wisdom, which is control. Science deals mainly with facts; religion deals mainly with values. The two are not rivals.”.As I thought about this observation I realized that it is as applicable in this era as it was one the day he made it.We need this understanding as much today as in any other time in history. As I reflected in Dr. King’s observation, it got me to thinking about how we view things – or maybe, more importantly – how we mistake the meaning or the purpose of things.Sure, it is nice when pursuits such as science and religion verify each other, but in all honesty that is not the purpose of either one of them.The study of science was designed to help us understand the workings of the world, not the way we have been called to live our lives.Religion is not bound by the measurements of scie…

Monday; January 14

I have always been a big weather fan.I like playing along with the meteorologists as they assess the data and make their prognostications.I am especially intrigued when the weather starts to act up and generates a major thunderstorm or dumps a huge winter storm in the big middle of everything.Now, having said, this there is one thing that bugs me about the weather – I can’t do one single thing about it!There is a reason for the old adage, “Everybody talks about the weather, but no one does anything about it.”The reality is that no matter how sophisticated our machinery is, nor how much we fret and worry about what might happen – there is nothing we can do to change the weather.In fact, until we are actually in the event, even our planning is subject to major changes. The reason for this observation is to remind me (and maybe others) that while some planning for the future might be appropriate, we must be willing to accept the fact that sometimes we are just “passengers” or “adaptors” i…

Friday; January 11

My parents weren’t big believers in giving allowances, nor did they pay us for grades.Their instruction to us was that we should do our chores and work hard at school because that was what we were supposed to do.Now, I will not fib and tell you that, as a child, I was excited about their philosophy – yes, I would like to have been like my friends who reaped a financial reward for their work, but now, as I look back at it, I appreciate the lesson they were trying to teach me.As children, our “job” was to work around the house and do good in school because that’s what the Wharton children were expected to do – and it was the right thing to do. Sometimes I wonder if we miss out on the idea of righteousness.Have you ever heard someone say that the reason we are to forgive our neighbor is so that God will forgive us?Have you ever heard the philosophy that the reason we give to help others is so that God will bless us in return?Have you ever heard it said that the reason to be nice…

Thursday; January 10

Several weeks ago I made the commitment to get back to the gym.  I had gotten out of the habit and my mind and my body were both telling me it was time to make a change.  Well, after the first few days it started to become my routine and after about two weeks I was set – it had become a habit.  I kept going for a while, but I have to admit that I didn’t know if it was making much of a difference.  Sure, I was doing more than what I had been doing, but I didn’t feel all that different (much less better).  In fact, a few weeks into it I actually experienced a week when I felt like I was going backwards.  I was a bit discouraged, but fortunately, I didn’t stop.  It has been a couple of months now and I am starting to notice things getting better.  I am nowhere near where I want to be (or even where I had hoped to be), but I am making progress!           Many of us may share this type of experience in our health, but have you ever faced something similar in making a significant d…