Archive for the ‘Word of God’ Category

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LOSING KNOWLEDGE – Oct 14

October 14, 2014

“And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding beyond measure, and breadth of mind like the sand on the seashore, so that Solomon’s wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all the people of the east and all the wisdom of Egypt.” 1 Kings 4:29-30

What is the function of a conjunction?

Volumes surround me; books standing in perpetual attention upon my shelves, clothed in dusty neglect. Familiar titles call out to me:

Process Geomorphology
Organic Chemistry
Applied Numerical Methods
Differential Equations
Probability and Statistics
Corporate Finance
Cost Accounting

 

 

The intellect of generations and genius are contained within these tombs of knowledge. I once communed among their concepts. I excavated their principles and deciphered their puzzles. I cursed the forced regurgitation of their laws and theories, consumed in short bursts of intellectual gluttony. Yet, I proved to be competent as an educated man.

I have the diplomas to prove it.

However, each text has found a forsaken place on my office shelf; set aside in a head-long pursuit of a profession. Years have swept aside those inquisitive days of study.

Theory replaced by practice;
Integration and derivation yielding to empirical;
Schedule triumphing over intellectual indulgence.

These books have become more decoration than source. They are a reassurance to visitors that the diplomas and licenses that hang on my wall have a foundation. I have learned my profession through years of practice. Yet, I have lost something through the years. Specific knowledge has faded to general in many subjects; conceptual understanding has replaced hard achieved competence.

Knowledge is not perpetual…at least not in my mind.

I do not have the mind of Solomon but neither does anyone else. God gave Solomon a wisdom and understanding beyond measure, and a breadth of mind like the sand on the seashore. The limits of my wisdom and understanding are easily delineated in a game of “Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader”, and the scarceness of my mind is more like the occasional sand dollar on the seashore than the sand.

The typical mind has a very limited capacity for the specific. Time erodes away a mind’s competence, when study is neglected, leaving a hollowed relic to the practical. The scores of educated adults who prove that they are not “smarter than a 5th grader” is testimony to our mind’s inability to retain knowledge absence the reinforcing power of study.

The surrender of the knowledge of a conjunction’s function may be a reasonable acquiescence to the pressures of a busy life.

What about the gospel?
Are you willing to surrender the knowledge of the gospel to the pressures of a busy life.

What is the function of the gospel?
Can you clearly present the gospel to someone who has no knowledge of it?

 The ability to clearly explain a principle is demonstration of competent, specific, knowledge of that principle. If you can only generally explain the gospel, it demonstrates a general knowledge.

We have been called to more.

God has revealed Himself through His Bible. We can know our Lord and Savior more and more through the study of His Word. This is why David delighted in God’s commandments and law. It is why David studied.

 Great are the works of the Lord, studied by all who delight in them. (Psalm 111:2)

 How are you doing studying the Bible?
Are you demonstrating your delight in God by studying His great works?

We must remember the minds we have been created with. We must remember that every moment that we spend away from the Word of God, time is eroding the razor edge of specific knowledge down to a blunt instrument of a general understanding. We must not acquiescence our time in God’s Word to the pressures of a busy life. We must not forget His Word.

 I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word. (Psalm 119:16)

 

PRAYER: Father, thank you for your Word.  Thank you for speaking to us perfectly even though we are imperfect.  Thank you for giving us everything that we need to follow you today.  Help me to glorify you from the place where I am today. Forgive me for thinking I need a special word from you. Teach me obedience in the everyday. Help me to live upon the nurturiousment of your Word, the Bible.  I pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen

 

 

 

 

 

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“WORLD CLASS” – Oct 16

October 16, 2013

“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” James 1:22

The moniker “world-class” has a very specific connotation to me.  It gets bandied about with other titles such as phenomenal, genius, and awesome, but just like those adjectives, it often loses its meaning due to a lack of context.  To be described as world-class, one has to be among the best in the world at a given activity.

There are some activities whose practitioners are world-class and I can appreciate what they do.  However, I cannot grasp the level of their achievements because I am a mere observer.

Jascha Heifetz is generally considered the greatest violin performer of the modern recording age. English: Russian violinist Jascha Heifetz in T...He is one of the very few players who was capable of hitting the high note at the end of Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto .  I don’t play the violin, I don’t have a practical concept of how hard it really is.

Rembrandt: Self Portrait (Altman)I love Dutch Realist paintings.  So, it is not surprising that I have a deep appreciation of Rembrandt and his use of reflected light and shadows.  One of my favorite paintings is the Night Watch .  I am not an artist.  Reproducing a Dutch Realist painting is beyond my wildest optimism.

There are other world-class practitioners who I find incredible, precisely because I HAVE tried to do what they do.  I understand their level of achievements because I can compare it to my achievements in the same activity.

Mal Booth / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

The Ironman World Championship was held in Kona, Hawaii this last weekend.  Mirinda Carfrae won with a course-record time of 8:52:14.  She ran a marathon in just 2:50:35.  That was very close to the 1971 marathon world record, but Carfrae’s marathon was after swimming 3.8 km (2.36 miles) and biking 180 km (111.85) miles.  I have never done an ironman distance triathlon but I do know my times for those separate distances, except for a full marathon.  She is awesome because I know the context of her speed;  she is world-class.

Chris Froome wins the 17th stage in the Vuelta...

Chris Fromme won the Tour de France this year.  He won the Stage 16 time trial by averaging over 20 mph on a course with two category two climbs and a very twisting, technical route.  Based on my personal riding experience, I am under no delusion that I would have been anywhere close to Chris Fromme on that stage of the Tour (or any stage for that matter). His performance was simply world-class.

rphipps75 / Foter / CC BY-SA

Mo Farah is the current 10,000 meters Olympic and World champion and 5000 meters Olympic, World and European champion.  The time it takes him to run 10,000 meters is just slightly longer then what it takes me to cover half that distance.  C’mon, that is ridiculous.

Until you try an activity, it is difficult to appreciate how special world-class people really are.

We can be deceived into thinking that everything is fine by simply reading the Bible.  Many listen to the Word, don’t apply it to their lives in practical ways, and convince themselves that nothing needs to change.

It is not until you become a doer of the word that you realize the importance of grace and the long road of sanctification.

It is not until you try to forgive someone when you realize you have an unforgiving heart and need the Spirit’s help to forgive.

It is not until you try to keep your mouth shut that you realize you have a problem with gossip and need the Spirit to tame your tongue.

It is not until you go to give your money away that you realize that you’ve got the green monster of greed and need the Spirit to help you surrender the idol of money.

When the instruction of the Bible is academic, we can convince ourselves that we are a good people.  It is in the doing the commandments of the Word where we see all the unrighteousness that still is within us.

Being a doer of the Word reminds us of who we are;
Sinners in need of a Savior.

Being a doer of the Word allows the Spirit to do His work:
To be living and active in our lives.

Being a doer of the Word opens our eyes;
To reveal our self-deception.

We need to remember that we are world-class.  Those who are in Christ are world-class because they are children of God.  We are world-class because we are the only ones in the world who can please God.  The only way to please God is by living in the Spirit; that is possible only for a child of God.

That makes us world-class.

Being a doer of the Word reveals to us what being world-class means.

We are to be world-class in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  The good news is that we do not have to be born with those characteristics.  They are gifts.  Therefore, all we have to do to be world- class in pleasing God is to abide in Him,  to set our minds on things of the Spirit, and be led by the Spirit of God.

May we open our Bibles and actually do what it tells us.  Through that act of obedience, we will experience what it means to live as a world-class child of the King of kings!

PRAYER: Lord, thank you for making very special people in this world.  Father, I praise you for the world-class abilities of the exceptional people in this world.  Thank you for allowing  exceptionalism to exist because it points to you.   Thank you for making me world-class in an activity that matters more than anything else – pleasing you.  Thank you for adopting me as your child.  Lord, create in me a desire to live by the Word that you have given us.  Help me to remember who I am and what you are doing in me.  Continue your work in me.  Help me to set my mind on you and to be a doer of your Word.    Help me to please you in all that I do, say, and write.  I pray this in the precious name of your Son,  Jesus Christ.   Amen.

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“COLONOSCOPY OF THE HEART” – Sept. 17

September 17, 2013

“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.  And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” Hebrews 4:11-13

I have an anniversary to celebrate.  This year is my ten year anniversary of being cancer free.

I am celebrating with a colonoscopy

English: Pictured is a physician using a remot...I realize that a colonoscopy is not much of a celebration but one thing I learned about cancer is that it is best to catch it early.  I hate getting a colonoscopy but that is the best method for catching cancer of the colon early.

I hated having cancer more than the procedure.  Therefore, I will drink the cocktail that will liquefy the contents of my gut.  I will allow a camera to travel a passage that should have remained secret.  I will relinquish a productive day to anesthesia’s groggy recovery since I have no desire to watch the live action.

I don’t get a colonoscopy because I like them.  I get a colonoscopy because I don’t want to die from colon cancer.

How foolish is it to refuse to have a colonoscopy because the procedure is uncomfortable and embarrassing?

How foolish is it to refuse to act when the colonoscopy reveals a growth?

Sometimes, the word of God feels like a colonoscopy.

“Oh Lord, don’t go there!”  is my thoughts when the Word pierces into the secrets of my intentions and thoughts.  I do not particularly like it when the duplicity of my heart is revealed.  I am not fond of being exposed to the eyes of Him to whom I must give account.

I come to the word of God and allow it to do its work because I don’t want die in unbelief. (Hebrews 3:19)

No one can fool the probing inspection of God.  All of our attitudes, thoughts, biases, and agendas are exposed to the Great Physician’s examination.  However, we can harden our hearts when we hear God’s diagnosis.  We can justify our disobedience.  We can rationalize our rebellion.  We can close His Word and refuse to acknowledge His authority.

How foolish is it to refuse to expose your heart to God’s word because you know the process will be uncomfortable and embarrassing?

How foolish is it to refuse to act when our unbelief and disobedience is revealed?

God has given us His word for our own good.  He has not left us in our rebellion.  Most of the time, I don’t like what His word shows me about myself but I know if is for my own good.  Therefore, I try to come to His word with a soft heart.  I want Him to do His work in me.  I know that polyps of unbelief still reside in me.  I want them removed.  I know that the remainder of my spiritual walk on this earth will entail the uncomfortable and embarrassing examinations of the word of God.

I want that.  I need that, daily.  Therefore, I will echo the words of David:

Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts. (Hebrews 4:7b)

PRAYER: Lord, thank you for softening my heart.  Thank you for your Spirit and your Word that reveal the unbelief of my heart.  Help me in my unbelief.  Continue to remove the cancer of disobedience and rebellion from my being.   Do your work in me.  I pray this in the precious name of your Son,  Jesus Christ.   Amen.

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“PICKING THE THOUGHTS OF GOD” – Mar. 20

March 20, 2013

“But some believers, who belonged to the party of the Pharisees, rose up and said, “It is necessary to circumcise them and to order them to keep the law of Moses.” Acts 15:5

Stretching before the 2006 NCAA Men's Division...It is the first day of spring.  Spring brings a very sacred time at the office where I work.  The first day of spring inaugurates March Madness and our office NCAA Basketball Tournament pool.

I stare at my bracket in befuddlement.  There are some schools on there that sound more like some bureaucratic anachronism; LIU Br/JMU, is that a college or some new pharmacological wonder.  My problem is that I have not followed college basketball very closely this last season.  My interest in college basketball has waned down to March Madness.

Therefore, I have very limited information upon which I can build bracket certainty.  I default back to what is familiar:

Duke, Kansas, and North Carolina – they are always good

Pac-12 Teams – they usually choke under the tournament pressure

Gonzaga – I have a soft spot for the small, Northwest school

Butler – Do they have some magic for another run?

I know that the bracket that I complete will be wrong.  There will be some Cinderella team that comes along and ruins a whole branch or the quality that I assume in some teams will be based on decade old traditions and misplaced.  Here are my  picks.

My bracket is made up of some knowledge and a lot of wishful thinking.

It seems like that many folks approach their faith much like the NCAA Tournament.  They pick out what they are going to believe based on a little bit of knowledge and a lot of wishful thinking.

We have enough evidence in the physical world around us to inform us that there is a God.  Beyond that, what can we really know about God?  Man’s rational approach to reasoning is based upon man’s own experience.  We apply evidence from our senses and make logical inferences to broader meanings and principles.  What if the truths that we seek are beyond our experience?  What if the true reality of the universe is beyond our senses?

God is beyond any man’s experience and senses.  Therefore, it is impossible for man to discover God.  A scientist will never be able to conduct an experience and proclaim, “I have discovered God.”  God had to reveal himself to us.  That was the only way for us to know him in a way beyond the fingerprint of creation.  God made himself known to mankind through His prophets and apostles by his own initiative.  He preserved that sacred revelation in His scriptures.

We get ourselves in all sorts of trouble when we think we can know God on our own.

The reality is that we will sometimes have strong debates about the revelation of God.  The early Church had such debates.  We are told that the early Church engaged in “no small dissension and debate” (Acts 15:2) and “much debate” (Acts 15:7).  These were debates between believers.  There was Paul and Barnabas on the one side and believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees on the other side.  The debates in the early Church were resolved by those who had received the direct revelation from God – the Apostles.  They relied upon God’s revelation.  We no longer have the apostles but God’s revelation through them is now within the wonderful texts of our Bibles.

There is much debate in the Church today.  There are people who assert that which the scripture calls sin as mere cultural remnants of an ill-informed past.  There are people who preach theological gymnastics to support realities that are clearly denied in the scripture.  They are creating a faith based on a little information and wishful thinking.  They have much less hope of discerning the thoughts of God than I do of picking the NCAA Basketball Champion.   I might get lucky; they won’t.

The debates that arise in the Church can be resolved in one place and one place only – the revelation of God.

Sola Scriptura – by scripture alone.

Any argument that runs counter to what is clear in the scripture is built on the foundation of human reasoning.  Those who follow their own knowledge and wishful thinking do so at their own peril and the peril of those who follow them.

PRAYER: Lord, thank you for your word.  Thank you for the scriptures that You have preserved for me in my Bible.  Father, do not let my pride lead me to beliefs and understandings that are not grounded in your revelation.  I know that it is by your grace and mercy that anyone can know you.  Thank you for revealing yourself to us, your creation.  Father, continue to protect your Church and your people from those who try to lead many astray by their own knowledge and wishful thinking.  Amen

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“THE DUESENBERG – PART 2” – Mar. 8

March 8, 2013

“And the king (Josiah) stood by the pillar and made a covenant before the Lord, to walk after the Lord and to keep his commandments and his testimonies and his statutes with all his heart and all his soul, to perform the words of this covenant that were written in this book.  And all the people joined in the covenant.”  2 Kings 23:3

“Before him there was no king like him, who turned to the Lord with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his might, according to all that Law of Moses, nor did any like him arise after him.” 2 Kings 23:25

PART 2 – THE DUESENBERG

Read Part 1 here at “THE DUESENBERG – PART 1

Traveling SalesmanHis son, the fortunate man’s grandson, discovered that he was owner of the Duesenberg when the family attorney handed him an unfamiliar key during the reading of his father’s will.  “A Duesenberg” he snorted under his breath. “A car from a by-gone era, just like this empire my father has left me,” was all he thought.  The grandson was consumed with the worries of transforming a business in a vastly different economy than that of his father or grandfather. The years of prosperity were gone and he was fighting to retain the family’s wealth.  He had no time for an old Duesenberg.  The beautiful car was tucked into the back of the old carriage barn and covered.  The grandson forgot about the elegant car as the wealth of his grandfather slipped from his fingers.

The grandson died sooner than others his age.  The stress of being the patriarch of a declining house had stripped years from his life.  He had compromised all of his ethics in search of the deal that would turn everything around.  He had built a reputation throughout the business world as that of a swindler due to his relentless desperation to hit it big.

His son, the fortunate man’s great grandson, inherited assets consumed by creditors. His first action was to prepare for the bankruptcy of the family businesses. He knew his family was bankrupt of wealth and hope.

On a sunny day, after a gray meeting with yet another bankruptcy attorney, the great-grandson took a walk through the family’s country estate; the home that his great-grandfather had built.  He poked through the various out-buildings in an attempt to ease his mind.  That is when his eyes were drawn down a shaft of sun streaking through some dilapidated boards of the barn.  The sunlight was illuminating a familiar form.  It was the forgotten Duesenberg.  He had remembered his father haphazardly showing it to him years ago when he was a boy.  Just the glimpse of the stately car as his father jerked the tarp back had been enough for him to fall in love with the automobile.  The Duesenberg had been the center piece in many of his day-dream adventures of his youth.

It immediately dawned upon him that he owned this Duesenberg.  This elegant masterpiece of craftsmanship was now his.  With an excitement he had not felt in a long time, he immediately set to the work of removing years of discarded debris to free the Duesenberg from its confinement of neglect.  He cleared a path through the collapsing barn, attached a chain to his prize and pulled the Duesenberg into sunlight for the first time in decades.  Time had not been kind to the old car.  It was broken down.  The finishes had faded and dulled.  The leather and fabric had cracked and fragmented.  The gears had bound and refused to turn.Olddues

The great-grandson was not detoured.  He knew what he had.  He had a treasure.  He could feel the rightness of this automobile and he could not wait to get behind the wheel.  He carefully opened the door and gingerly slipped behind the large steering wheel being careful not to cause any more damage.

He knew he had a treasure but he was unsure of what to do with it.  He inspection every inch of the car and become more enamored with it as he become familiar with its subtleties.

Dues OwnersHe cleaned the years of grime away.  When he was looking under the passenger’s seat, he saw an object that appeared to be a book tangled in the springs of the seat.  He reached the length of his arm and carefully removed the book.  He swiped the dust and spider webs from its cover and read, “Owner’s Instruction Book – Duesenberg – Model J.”  With delicate fingers, he opened the cover to the table of contents.  At the top of the page, in elegant cursive writing from a by-gone time, were the words,

“This is a treasure that you have been given.  I have chosen you for this gift.  You have not chosen me.  I have chosen you not because of who you are or who you will become.  I have chosen you because you are the least of all men.  I have chosen you for my own reasons.  You are blessed to receive this gift as will all the generations that follow you.  Only be careful to follow this owner’s manual.  This manual is a gift intended to help you and all subsequent owners to know how to care for this special blessing.  You are very blessed; never forget where you were.”

Duesenberg

Duesenberg (Photo credit: Venom82)

The great-grandson wept as he sat on the Duesenberg’s fragile running board.  He knew that the blessings of his family were somehow tied to this automobile.  He knew that his father and grandfather had not followed the owner’s manual.  They had not valued this incredible gift.  He resolved, as he wiped the final tear from his eye, that he turn away from the ways of his father and would walk in the example of his great-grandfather.  He called his son to him and opened the instruction manual and began to read, “Instruments and Controls…”The days rolled into each other as the father and son worked to restore the old Duesenberg.  They read the owner’s manual day after day and their gray pessimism of the future turned into golden rays of hope.

____________________________________________________

Our Father in heaven has given all who are His, the gift of faith.  It is a treasure of indescribable worth.  The Bible, God’s Word, is our instruction manual.  His words are our guidance in how to follow Christ as we have been called to do.  Let’s not be like the Israelites who so neglected God’s instruction that they misplaced and lost God’s law.  Let us not neglect to follow the instruction that God has given us.  He has given it to us for our good.

May we be like Josiah and turn back to the Lord with all of our heart and with all of our soul and with all of our might.

May the value that we place in the gift of our faith be demonstrated in the diligence of our adherence to the instruction of the Bible, our owner’s manual.

PRAYER: Lord, I find it hard to comprehend how a people could lose your law but it did happen.  I know that it can happen again.  Father, write your words upon my heart and the hearts of my family.  Lord, give us such an appreciation for your gift of faith that we will love your word.  Create in us an affection for your word that we desire to keep it near to us at all times.  You have give us your instruction for our good and enjoyment.  Spirit, guide us in the word.  Lead us back to you and your word with all of our hearts and all of our souls and with all of our might.    Amen

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“THE DUESENBERG – PART 1” – Mar. 8

March 8, 2013

“And Hilkiah the high priest said to Shaphan the secretary, “I have found the Book of the law in the house of the Lord.” And Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphan, and he read it…Then Shaphan the secretary told the king (Josiah), “Hilkiah the priest has given me a book.” And Shaphan read it before the king.” 2 King 22:8, 10

“For great is the wrath of the Lord that is kindled against us, because our fathers have not obeyed the words of this book, to do according to all that is written concerning us.” 2 Kings 22:13b

PART 1 – THE DUESENBERG

English: 53227(293) Works Progress Administrat...

English: 53227(293) Works Progress Administration: unemployed shown at volunteers of America Soup Kitchen in Washington, D.C., 1936. (27-0637a.gif) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There once was a man of poverty who struggled to find his daily meals.  The gray of the days of a prolonged depression matched his pessimism of the future.  Tomorrow was bleak for this man of poverty.  Hope was indeed dim for a man without means.  That all changed for him in a soup kitchen at the lonely end of a long table.A strange figure silently approached this man of poverty as he hunched over his charity soup.  This well-dressed man, who quietly sat dawn opposite him, inexplicably stretched out his arm.  At the end of his hand, there dangled a key.  “It is yours my fortunate friend; only be careful to follow the owner’s manual,” was all that he said as he dropped the key into the palm of this bewildered beneficiary.  The man of “means” lead the man “without” to the edge of the street.   With a sweep of his arm, he said, “She is yours; only be careful to follow the owner’s manual.”  The desperate man’s eyes followed the long sweep of his arm; from shoulder, to elbow, to the tip of his fingers.  What lay beyond was a dream.  A Duesenberg; it was the quintessential car of luxury and speed.

Duesenberg Convertible SJ La Grande Dual-Cowl ...

Duesenberg Convertible SJ La Grande Dual-Cowl Phaeton 1935 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

He stood in amazement. He slowly turned to his companion, hoping a coherent question might form by the time he faced him, only to discover that he was gone.  He stood on the sidewalk in stunned astonishment as the crowds pushed around him.  “This must be a prank; how can this be real?”, he thought as he rolled the key in his now perspiring palm. Finally, he reasoned that he would play along even if this were a mischievous joke.  At the least, he would get to drive a Duesenberg.  Therefore, he slipped into the driver’s seat, across the custom-made interior of the most elegant automobile he had ever seen.  He started the car and pulled away from the soup kitchen with acceleration and power that he had not known were possible.This fortunate man discovered that he wasn’t the punch line in a cruel joke.  No one ever came for his Duesenberg.  It was his and he cared for it with a passion.  He followed the owner’s manual with precision for he knew the treasure that he had.

He found that owning a Duesenberg changed everything in his life.  It was generally assumed that he was a man of means due to his ownership of such a car but he knew it was something more.  Other men of ability and wealth befriended this fortunate man and opportunities were soon laid at his feet.  Prosperity changed his gray pessimism into a golden hope of the future.  As years slipped by and his wealth accumulated, he never forgot his poverty and who he was under all the fine clothes.  He was appreciative of all that he had been given and he cared for his Duesenberg with a devotion that none in his family could understand.  He followed the owner’s manual in such detail that he had it memorized.  His efforts were evident.  When he lay grayed, wrinkled and dying, the Duesenberg looked the same as that fateful day when a key was dropped into his youthful hand.

English: Duesenberg J Murphy Convertible Coupe...Just before he died, this fortunate man dropped the key of his beloved Duesenberg into the youthful hand of his eldest son. He whispered to his son in a voice stolen by age and illness, “She is yours; only be careful to follow the owner’s manual.”

This young man loved his father.  He grieved long and hard at his passing.  It took many years before he could even look at the Duesenberg because all he saw was a father, whom he missed dearly.  However, that become the reason the son grew to love the Duesenberg.  It reminded him of the man he loved.He would go into the expansive garage and just sit in the Duesenberg, which was now relegated to the last stall since it was rarely driven.  He maintained the car to keep it functional.  He would run it regularly to keep the myriad of mechanical parts well lubricated.  However, he perused the owner’s manual mostly to see the clear and decisive handwriting of his father in the margins.  He remembered the times with his father of caring for this car.  The time when his father stopped him while he was cleaning the upholstery and said, “No my son, that is not how the manual tells us to clean the leather.”  He then quoted from memory exactly how the process was to be completed and he concluded with, “we must be careful to follow the manual. It was given to us to help us keep this wonderful automobile.  If we are careful to follow the manual, this automobile will be a blessing to countless generations of our family.”

The son faithfully followed his father’s instruction but without his father’s earnestness, which he never fully understood.  The years passed and the son died after owning the Duesenberg for half a century. 

Continue reading “THE DUESENBERG – PART 2

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WHO IS YOUR COUNSELOR? – Feb. 16

February 16, 2013

“But my people did not listen to my voice; Israel would not submit to me. So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts, to follow their own counsel. Oh, that my people would listen to me, that Israel would walk in my ways! Psalm 81:11-13

When I was young, I could not wait to grow up.  I remember day dreaming about the time when I could have my own things and make my own decisions.  I felt very constrained as a child.  My parents decided when and where we would go.  They decided what I would eat and what I would wear.  They decided what activities that I was allowed to be involved in.  They made my work schedule.  They treated me as a child when I wanted to be treated as an adult.  I could not wait to be an adult and to experience the associated freedoms.

I realize now that I had a wonderful childhood.  I would not want to change any of it.  My parents loved me and nurtured me.  I am deeply grateful for the childhood that they gave me.  Yet, I still wanted to grow-up even though I had a wonderful childhood.

Adulthood was my escape.  In adulthood, I would be allowed to make my own decisions.  It was not that my parents were poor decision makers.  They made very good decisions.  I just wanted to make my own decisions.  However, it was never about decisions.  My desire for adulthood was rooted in control.  I wanted to be free to do what I wanted to do.

Adulthood has not turned out to be as magical as I had thought.  The freedom of making my own decisions is not as liberating as I thought it would be.  Escaping the shackles of my parents has only revealed the heavier yoke of adulthood.

I never realized the weight of adult uncertainty until I became an adult.  I had always thought that adults just did whatever they wanted to do.  I now know that is not true.  Adults have to do a lot of things that they don’t particularly care to do.

I had always thought that adults just knew the right thing to do.  I think that is one of the greatest ruses that adults play on children.  I always thought my parents knew what they were doing.   They did not.  They were figuring it out as they went along.  I have come to realize that clarity does not accompany adulthood.  We all are doing the best we can with the information and resources that we have available to us.

Bible Study 2

Bible Study 2 (Photo credit: DrGBB)

Just as my childish view of adulthood revealed my desire for control, how you view the Bible reveals your attitude about God.

There are many people who view the Bible as a book of “don’ts”.  They view it like a child views his parent.  It is a book that is removing their freedom. It is a book that tells them what they can’t do and what they have to do.  It is a book that treats them like children when all they want to be is an adult.  That sort of attitude can lead to day-dreaming about activities and a life free from those oppressive constraints.  Many have felt that if they were just free to follow their own counsel then they would be happy and satisfied.

The refusal to walk in the ways of the Lord is not about decisions it is about a heart battling for control.  We want to do what we want to do.

How do we know what is the right thing to do?  We all have a choice.  We can either follow our own counsel or the counsel of God to decide what the right thing is.

My counsel comes from me.  I don’t know anything beyond my experience.  Therefore, my counsel is an undulating wave of feelings and convictions evolving from my attempt to figure this world out as I am passing through it.  My counsel involves trial and error.  It requires me to make to decisions on how the universe works that I can’t know.  My counsel speculates what the future holds with multiple layers of assumptions and inferences.

My counsel is a guess,  biased by a stubborn heart.

God’s counsel is from the One who created this world.  He is the One who knows the purposes and meanings of this world.  He is the author of this world’s purposes and meaning.  God knows all that happens. He is in control of all creation; taking it along His divine plan.  God’s counsel entails the most complete and deepest understanding of the past, present, and future.

God’s counsel is the most reliable source of guidance available to us because He has a perfect understanding and knowledge of all things.

Why would anyone choose their own counsel?

A stubborn heart has a deleterious effect on our decision-making.   A stubborn heart will elevate our own counsel because that will get it what it ultimately wants.  A stubborn heart demands the freedom of selfish pursuits just like a child can long for adulthood.  The achievement that perceived control is merely a life of eternal insecurity because it is inevitably based on a heart that is trying to figure it out.  Clarity and certainty is impossible. There will come a day for all people when they realize that they are still subject to the requirements of this world.  Just like adults don’t get to do whatever they want to do, this world has consequences for the actions of every person.  It doesn’t matter what we day-dream the world to be like.  Reality has a way of waking us up.

When it comes to the knowledge of this spiritual universe, I am a child.  I can’t figure out how it works on my own.  I don’t want to rely on my day-dreams of what I hope it will be like.  I need a trustworthy Counselor.  I have a Father in heaven who loves me and knows how to give me good things.  He has given me His counsel.  Why would I reject His counsel?  Why would I think that I could know better than Him?

We need to cling to the good counsel of our God even when we really don’t like what it might be saying.  Don’t trust your feelings.  The discomfort that we may feel from God’s counsel is merely the abrasion of a stubborn heart; a stubborn heart that needs to be daily worn down by the Gospel.  It is the Gospel that softens our stubborn hearts and creates a desire for God’s word and a disdain for the contrary counsel of this world and our own mind.

Whose counsel will you seek this day?

PRAYER: Lord, thank you for not leaving us on our own.  Thank you for providing us with your Word and giving us your Counsel.  Forgive me for acting like I know better.  Forgive me for not following your Word like I know that I should.  You have given it to me for my good.  It is a wonderful gift.  Father, I delight in you Word; write it upon my heart.  Weave your counsel into every part of my life.     Amen

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