Tag Archives: God

Your Name is Mud: Part 1

Genesis 2:6-7 . . . but streams came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground––the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.
(The Hebrew for man, adam, may be related to the Hebrew for ground, adamah)

The Lord made the first man from wet ground, mud. Is it any wonder that science says that the human body is anywhere from 60-90% water (depending on the source) and that once our earthly vessels die, they can be put into the ground to decompose back into whence they came?

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“What can be seen on earth points to neither the total absence nor the obvious presence of divinity, but to the presence of a hidden God. Everything bears this mark.” — Blaise Pascal (1623-1620), mathematician and theologian

Genesis 3:19b “. . . for dust you are and to dust you will return.” God said to Adam

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Some Things Just Don’t Seem To Add Up

I was checking Megan’s math homework the other night and came across some problems that seem to go against conventional wisdom. She is learning about multiplying integers. What fascinated me was that two negatives actually make a positive when multiplied together. Where else in life do two negatives ever equal a positive? Then it occurred to me. A world dead in sin and the crucifiction of God’s Son resulted in eternal life; damnation and crucifixion yielded a resurrection and salvation. It turns out that when you serve a God that is the ruler, your circumstances never measure up–ALL things work together for good to those who love Him (Romans 8:28).

Next time things just don’t seem to be adding up in your life, remember that Jesus is the answer.

Romans 6:23 NIV ~ For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 4:25 NIV ~ He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.

John 10:10 NIV ~ The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

Open Door Policy

God works much like the automatic doors at grocery stores and other establishments. As we get closer to Him or His will, doors open for us. Keep in mind though that it does require a move on our part. If you stand outside just looking at the grocery store, the door will not open for you and you will not get into the store. You actually have to move toward the door for it to open and walk through to get in.

Want to get into God’s will? Move toward Him and walk through the doors that He opens for you!

Speech Impediment

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. ~ James 1:19-20

This is my prayer for me. This is what I’m asking you, my brothers and sisters in Christ, to stand in agreement with me on, that is, keeping my trap shut; it’s what I really suck at. I continually tell my daughter not to say anything if she doesn’t have anything nice to say but find that I don’t really practice what I preach. I am sometimes (or maybe even more often than I recognize) callous with people, including my own family. There have been several occasions in the last couple of weeks that have brought me to this realization. I detest this about me, or more importantly, detest how it likely makes people feel; I am sick of myself and need a change!

Don’t get me wrong, in spite of myself, I’m still a “success” by most people’s standards. I still have friends (that aren’t necessarily like me), I develop great rapport with my patients, I am a trusted and respected team member at work and church, my wife and daughter love me anyway, and most of my family still speak to me. But is it because they have learned to overlook that about me? And how many people have I hurt in the process of “being myself?” Would I even like me if I was my own best friend?

When used with discretion, being direct with people can be a good quality. That’s just not me though––I‘m abrasive instead of assertive, my comments can be hurtful rather than helpful. When I look back over the years, I think I’ve been (and am) a real horse’s rear at times. You may not see it (thank goodness) but that’s because writing is a little different. I have time to formulate my thoughts, proofread what I’ve written, and hold it to rigorous standards. That’s exactly the kind of model that I need to apply to the words I speak. Easier said than done.

Like the praise song, please pray that the Lord would change my heart to demonstrate the righteous life of God that is within me. That He would give me the discipline and ability to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger, saying only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs and benefiting those who listen (Ephesians 4:29).

That’s the “speck in my eye” right now. Do you have a vice or shortcoming for which we can stand in prayer together?

God’s Team

steelers

I said a few weeks ago that I was going to prove that the Pittsburgh Steelers was God’s Team, his all-time NFL pick, and today’s the day. For you doubting Thomas’s who would nag say, “if the Steelers was God’s team, then why aren’t they undefeated?” Here’s your answer: Because God is a good god, He is sovereign, He is merciful, and He loves an exciting football game. Would it be fair or worth watching if He used His omnipotence as an advantage to dominate and obliterate the competition? You wouldn’t even tune it! Don’t forget, He did lead them to 5 Superbowl victories, shared only by 2 other teams, the San Francisco 49ers and the Dallas Cowboys (not coincidentally Satan’s team–Note: the Steelers are up 2-1 over Dallas in their Superbowl meetings). On with the proof. If you just turn the Steelers’ logo counterclockwise about 90 degrees, as if turning back time, you’ll see the sign of the cross. Check it out for yourself (I added some dotted lines for better illustration):

steelersgods

Voilà! The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit–that’s what those diamonds represent in case you were ever wondering. So there you have it! Instead of only wishing that your team can attain dynasty status like Pittsburgh or getting jealous over the successes of the Steelers, you can aspire to have that same God-like character and ability for your team!

Disclaimer: For those of you who think this is sacrilegious, this isn’t my doctrine; it’s all in good fun. God’s real team is His Church (big C), those who have accepted Christ into their hearts; and it’s a victorious team. If that’s you, then we’re teammates–glad to be on the same team! If not, join today!

Get a Clue!

Tina, Meg, and I were playing a game of Clue last night. I had the killer and the location of the crime identified but I only had the weapons narrowed down to three possibilities. Using the trophy in two separate unchallenged accusations, I was convinced that I had finally nailed down the weapon used to commit the crime. I quickly got into position where I could make the final accusation that would win the game. As I opened the envelope to reveal the answer to the crime, I slowly slid out the cards one by one, first revealing the killer–YES, I got it right; then the room–BAM!; and finally for the win (drum roll please) the weapon–WHAT?! It wasn’t the trophy as my evidence had implied. Someone either unjustly gave me the wrong information or wrongfully omitted a very important clue. Someone failed to show me the truth for which I missed the great mystery; I was deceived into believing the wrong answer!

In this game of life, are you neglecting the Truth? Will you miss the great mystery (“which is Christ in you, the hope of glory”)? Are you being deceived into believing the  wrong answer? Here are some questions and scriptures for further consideration:

Do you rely more on your pastor, other fellow Christians, or even non-believers to decipher the mystery of the God instead of looking to the Word of Truth for yourself?

  • Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many…” ~Matthew 24:4-5
  • See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ. ~Colossians 2:8

What evidence are you using to justify your beliefs? How can you affirm your faith?

  • All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. ~2 Timothy 3:16-17
  • By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. ~1 Corinthians 15:2
  • I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people. Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I am full of joy over you; but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil. . . Now to him who is able to establish you by my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past, but now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God, so that all nations might believe and obey him—to the only wise God be glory forever through Jesus Christ! Amen. ~Romans 16:17-19, 25-27

Get a Clue, Get in the Word!

Deal or No Deal?

Wall Street and Main Street might well be Easy Street compared to the effect the current financial calamity has had on Skid Row (in keeping with the “street” theme––no disrespect intended). With little money to go around these days, perhaps the charitable organizations have been the biggest victims. Some companies have realized this as an opportunity, not just for generosity but for profitability too.

Saturday night, we went to Ruby Tuesday’s with some friends. At the end of dinner, the server solicited a donation to Second Harvest Food Bank through the purchase of a half-dozen cookies. I was familiar with the name of the organization from a story about the shrinking support of charities caused by the worlds economic mess. Earlier in the day, we drove through a shopping center parking lot that was hosting a media-sponsored food drive for Second Harvest. So as you can imagine, my heart was being softened for an organization that is apparently starving for resources. Upon further questioning though, it turns out that the cookies cost $8.99 with only 10% (or about $0.90) going to Second Harvest. WOW––what a lame way to be charitable.

Who would I really be feeding by buying those cookies? $1 to “feed” the hungry and the remaining $8 to feed six cookies to a “healthy” couple still full from a $40 meal. Something about that just didn’t seem right. We did make a donation to Second Harvest Food Bank but it wasn’t through buying cookies (I need a cookie like I need a hole in my head). Through another corporate donor, Harris Teeter (a grocery chain), we purchased two $5 gift cards that will go directly to Second Harvest to be used at their discretion. Here’s how it all adds up:

Option 1:
$40 meal + $10 cookies = $1 donation (or 2% of total cost)

Option 2:
$40 meal + $10 gift cards = $10 donation (or 20% of total cost)

Did we make a good deal? Yes, we made a very good deal! To whom much is given, much is required (Luke 12:48). God wants us to be good stewards of what he has entrusted to us. Remember the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30, the man who made the most of what was given him was rewarded generously and the one who did nothing, neither spent it nor invested it, received nothing. Are you making good “deals” with what God has blessed you with?