August 28, 2014

Prisoners of a Wired World?


When my Dad was a young man in the early 1920’s, he built a crystal radio receiver, a simple, inexpensive device that became a major force in introducing radio to the public.

Since Dad made his crystal set over ninety years ago, technology has created so many gadgets to communicate with others that some believe we may have become prisoners of a Wired World. The technology that was supposed to free up time for relaxing activity has made life more hectic and frantic.

Alan Lightman, author of A Sense of the Mysterious suggests that at times, “we have a sense of being trapped in a world we cannot control.”  Lightman adds that technology has caused him to lose, “something of his inner self.”

Inner peace has little to do with technology and the stuff we gather around us. It does not come from a world in constant motion where we are  always on our computers or smart phones texting, emailing, Googling or Twittering.

Christians believe that inner peace comes from faith in a sovereign God and a trusting relationship with Jesus, the Prince of Peace. That faith offers believers joy and peace of mind and soul. 

August 22, 2014

Perseverance

Many years ago when I was a college admissions officer, our staff considered an application from a prospective student whose credentials suggested he could not be successful at our institution. We voted to reject him.

For some reason, the student’s file ended up in the wrong place, and he received a letter offering him admission to our college which he accepted.

Obviously, the student had a virtue we did not recognize, because four years later he graduated!

In many cases, success in college is determined by a student’s resolve, tenacity and commitment, characteristics which cannot be measured by tests.

Perseverance often defines how successful we are in any human endeavor. God has endowed each of us with varying abilities, but we are never limited in the desire and effort to accomplish our goals in whatever we choose to do.

As a wise wrestling coach told me a long time ago, “The determination to win is the better part of winning.” 


August 15, 2014

Bless Me, Indeed

Imagine you have just finished unloading your car for your daughter who has officially moved into the freshman dorm at the college which will be her home for the next year.

Just before you are ready to leave for your trip home, your daughter takes your hand, and says, “There’s just one more thing before you go. Will you please give me your blessing?”

What parent wouldn’t be thrilled to receive such a request?

In his best seller, The Prayer of Jabez, author Bruce Wilkinson directs the readers’ attention to the Old Testament book of 1st Chronicles.  

There, among a long, boring list of unpronounceable names like Hahahashtari and Mahalalela a pearl is revealed, the Prayer of Jabez:
O, that you would bless me and enlarge my boundaries! Let your hand be with me and keep me from harm . . .
Jesus said, "If you being flawed know how to bless your children, how much more your heavenly Father wishes to bless you.” How pleasing it must be to our Father in Heaven when we ask for his blessing.


August 8, 2014

Not Yet, Not Yet

At the end of the movie Gladiator, the murdered body of the hero Maximus is carried from the Roman Colosseum. In the last scene, the General’s friend, Juba says goodbye to his fellow Gladiator with these words, “Now we are free. I will see you again. But not yet, not yet.”

“Not yet, not yet.” Many of us think or speak that phrase often. We have a fleeting thought of visiting a friend who is a shut-in, but we’re involved in a good book at the moment and we think, “Not yet, not yet.”

We recognize it’s not healthy to carry those extra pounds, and we know we ought to begin exercising and dieting, but “Not yet, not yet.”

We have held a grudge far too long, but the person who offended us isn’t suffering. We are. We know we should forgive him, but, “Not yet, not yet.”

Something within us tells us we should find a church where there will be others who can help us bear our burdens, a congregation where people reach out in a spirit of love to the hungry, the poor and the homeless, but “Not yet, not yet.”

We are confident we should do many things we aren’t doing, but we delay because we are weak or we lack motivation.  But St. Paul said:  “God didn’t give us a spirit that is timid but one that is powerful, loving, and self-controlled.” 

Some will call on that God-given power to act!  Others will say, “Not yet, not yet.”


August 1, 2014

Who or What is Satan?

Satan is mentioned well over 100 times in the Bible, so who or what is he?

Baptists believe in the literal reality and actual personality of Satan.
Catholics believe Satan is a fallen angel.
Lutherans believe Satan is the “Prince of Demons.”

It doesn’t really matter if Satan is a person, a fallen angel or the “Prince of Demons,” but it is important to acknowledge that Satan is a powerful adversary that tempts us to sin. This evil energy can also suck the joy out of our lives and leave us a quivering blob of cowardice and uncertainty.

Because of humanity's sinful nature, everyone, at some point, deals with temptations. Fortunately, we are never alone in our struggles with temptation, because standing between us and Satan’s schemes is the ultimate power of our Redeemer, our Protector, our Deliverer, Jesus Christ

In a recent meditation at our Bluff Point United Methodist Church, Pastor Judy White reminded us “God is for us all the time.”  Judy made that promise based on this paraphrased testimony by Paul in his letter to the church at Rome:

“There is nothing in death or life —- nothing in all creation that can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

The next time you are tempted to give in to Satan, remember God’s love is there providing the strength and courage you need to resist. 

"When the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a  standard against him" (Isaiah 59:19).